NBA fans saw something they aren't really used to seeing during last night's game between the Heat and Pacers: a player lying motionless on the floor after taking a blow to the head.
About midway through the fourth quarter, Paul George and Dwyane Wade both went scrambling for a loose ball. George dove head first for the ball and into Wade's legs. Wade leapt over George to try and avoid a collision, but ended up banging his knee right into the back of George's head. George stayed down for a few moments while the broadcast cut to commercial, but by the time the game was back on TV, George was ready to check back into the game.
George didn't make a field goal the rest of the game, and played some not-good, listless defense against LeBron James as the Heat pulled away. After the game, George revealed that he had blacked out after the collision with Wade and was "blurry" for the rest of the game. From The Point Forward:
"I blacked out as soon as it happened and then … however much time was remaining, I was just blurry," George said.
Like the NFL, the NBA does have a concussion protocol that is meant to keep players who are showing the symptoms of a concussion out of the game. It reads:
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.
This clearly didn't happen with George, as he checked back into the game right away, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the Pacers were technically negligent by allowing him to keep playing. According to the Pacers, George was asked and answered all of the questions that pertain to concussion protocol before being allowed back into the game. His only symptom was "pain the back of the head."
It's likely that Paul just didn't tell the Pacers' medical staff that he had blacked out or was feeling "blurry" because he wanted to get back into the game. Still, it would probably be wise for the Pacers to exercise a little more caution with their players in the future. There's a big difference between a player being hastily evaluated on the bench and actually being taken back into the locker room for a more thorough examination, and this isn't the first time that the Pacers have been quick to send a player who just got his bell rung back onto the floor.