Haugh: In the Wake of the Web

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Basketball: USA Basketball Showcase

Team USA's Paul George is carted off the floor on a gurney after suffering a leg injury. (Stephen R. Sylvanie / USA Today Sports / August 2, 2014)

Quick, digital-only thoughts from In the Wake of the News columnist  David Haugh.

For openers ...

As Paul George landed Friday night against the basket stanchion in Las Vegas, his right leg below the knee snapped to a nearly 90-degree angle, a horrific scene that was hard to watch even for those with strong stomachs.

Once was enough for me.

Thankfully, ESPN spared America replays of the injury that forced the cancellation of the Team USA scrimmage. If only it were that easy to erase or ignore the impact of the NBA’s enduring image of summer. Alas, nobody can.

In Chicago, the lingering issue involves two separate but not necessarily related ideas: how the devastating blow affects Derrick Rose and what it means for the future of NBA players in international competition.

First, Rose. A guy who participated in only 49 games the past three seasons needs to play. Rose must test the limits of both surgically repaired knees, against elite competition, to build confidence and stamina and re-establish his limits. He could get hurt playing in a private pick-up game as easily as he could representing his country. In Rose’s case, the chance to compete at such a high level comes at an ideal time in his recovery process. To pass it up would be unwise.

It was natural to see George on a stretcher under the basket and remember Rose in the same helpless position, surrounded by medical personnel, against the 76ers on April 28, 2012. The expression on Rose’s face suggested he related all too well to the anguish, too. But the rewards Rose will reap from continuing to play for coach Mike Krzyzewski outweigh the risks. Any other summer, that might not be the case – but this is no ordinary summer for Rose.

Not every star player involved needs the court time, though, which understandably could cause many NBA executives to follow Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s lead and demand a re-evaluation of the league’s international participation. The Pacers responded to George’s injury gracefully, with Larry Bird rightly saying the injury could have happened anywhere. Will they be the exception or the rule? As the NBA debates what’s right for its future in international competition, questions suddenly outnumber answers.


Who better than former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann to relate to what George might be going through pondering the rest of career after a catastrophic leg injury? Theismann’s came when Giants pass-rusher Lawrence Taylor crushed him in 1985, as the Indianapolis Star recalled in this interesting story.


Karate-chopping quarterbacks? The Tribune’s Dan Wiederer took a fascinating look at Joe Kim, the black belt martial arts expert the Bears hired to work with their defensive linemen. Love the Mr. Miyagi reference.



Jim Thome, the White Sox special adviser to the front office, spent Saturday night in Cleveland admiring the statue the Indians built to honor his career. They immortalized baseball’s nicest man in bronze.

Tweet of the week


Avi WE need u back!!! Get well soon! WSox

The White Sox first baseman couldn’t hide his excitement over the speedy return of outfielder Avi Garcia, whose weekend rehab stint hit a snag Sunday in the third inning of the Charlotte Knights game when he was hit by a pitch on the wrist and left the game.

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