Though the players did not practice Wednesday, the day after an 87-83 loss to Miami in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, it proved a costly day for the Pacers.
Paul George was diagnosed with a concussion, rendering his status for Game 3 Saturday in Miami uncertain, and Lance Stephenson was fined $5,000 for flopping.
George was injured with 6:50 remaining in the fourth quarter Tuesday. As both players dived to the floor in pursuit of a loose ball, George was kneed in the back of the head by Miami’s Dwyane Wade. Both players remained on the floor for several minutes.
According to a statement released by the Pacers, George was checked out by the team medical staff immediately after the play and “exhibited no symptoms of a concussion,” said he had no “dizziness, nausea, and issues with his vision” and was also “active and aware of his surroundings,” and thus no concussion was suspected.
After the game, he revealed to the media that he briefly blacked out after the collision and had blurred vision the rest of the game.
That prompted the Pacers to conduct additional testing and evaluation Wednesday morning, and was diagnosed with a concussion, “based on his post-game reporting that he had briefly lost consciousness during the game,” according to the team statement.
George thus enters the league’s concussion protocol. In order to be cleared to return, he must pass several tests of physical exertion, beginning with a stationary bike and increasing through jogging, agility tests and non-contact team drills.
If he remains asymptomatic after each step, he can move on to the next.
According to NBA’s Concussion Policy Summary, “It’s important to note that there is no timeframe to complete the protocol. Each injury and player is different and recovery time can vary in each case.”
George Hill missed one game during the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinal series against New York after being diagnosed with a concussion sustained early in Game 4. Hill, who was elbowed in the head by the Knicks’ Tyson Chandler, finished the game without incident and his symptoms arose the following day. The Pacers lost Game 5 with D.J. Augustin starting at point guard but Hill returned and they closed out the Knicks in Game 6.
“The Indiana Pacers medical team followed the NBA concussion protocol and there was no indication of concussion during the game,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, who directs the league’s concussion program. “This case illustrates that concussion evaluation is an ongoing process and manifestations of the injury may not always present immediately.”
Stephenson was fined for a play with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter. Trailing LeBron James, Stephenson reached in for the ball and was called for a foul. Bumped by James, Stephenson took an exaggerated tumble to the floor and briefly closed his eyes.
This was Stephenson’s first violation of the playoffs. A second violation would draw a $10,000 fine. He was penalized twice for flopping during the regular season, tied for the league-high with five other players including Miami’s Mario Chalmers.