Paul George kept playing after colliding with Dwyane Wade late in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night. But after the game, George said he briefly lost consciousness, a possible sign of a concussion.
Here’s the collision (which came in the fourth quarter of Miami’s 87-83 win over Indiana):
If George did suffer a concussion, it would be just the 10th such injury this season. That’s according to a database I’ve compiled tracking injuries in the NBA over the last six seasons based on team reports.
NBA players experience very few concussions compared to players in other major sports. There’s been one concussion for every 149.5 NBA games played this season. By comparison, the NFL saw a concussion occur once every 1.4 games during the 2013 season. According to my database, there have been 89 total concussions in the NBA since the start of the 2008-09 season; the NFL recently reported 228 concussions were diagnosed during the 2013 season alone, down from 261 in the previous season.
In fact, the NBA’s concussion rate is the lowest among the four major U.S. leagues. According to data collected in a 2013 study, a concussion occurs in the NHL once every 20 games. And while baseball, like basketball, isn’t considered a contact sport, MLB sent 23 players to the seven-day concussion disabled list last season, generating a concussion rate of one incident for every 105.7 games.
Whether or not George suffered a concussion, the Pacers may have mismanaged his injury. The NBA concussion policy, implemented during the 2011-12 season, states:
If a player is suspected of having a concussion, or exhibits the signs or symptoms of concussion, they will be removed from participation and undergo evaluation by the medical staff in a quiet, distraction-free environment conducive to conducting a neurological evaluation.
If George was displaying any of the symptoms he mentioned during post-game interviews, then he should have been removed from the game. Expect the Pacers’ actions and George’s eligibility for Game 3 to be under close watch until Saturday, when the series shifts to Miami.