AVALON, N.J. -- The Sixers held their 15th annual Beach Bash at Jack's Place in Avalon, New Jersey, Saturday afternoon. The event allows fans to enjoy games, music and a few of the team's players.
Sixers center Nerlens Noel was the marquee name attending. Joining Noel at the event were teammates Tony Wroten and Brandon Davies. The trio signed autographs for adoring fans.
Annually at the shore, the upcoming season is a hot topic to discuss. But on this overcast August afternoon, the serious injury suffered by two-time NBA All-Star Paul George of the Indiana Pacers Friday night during a USA Basketball scrimmage stole the conversation.
George suffered an open tibia-fibula fracture in his right leg. His recovery will be long and arduous.
Noel knows what lies ahead for George given his year and a half rehabilitation following a torn ACL in 2013.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to Paul George, his family and the Pacers' organization," Noel said. "It was unfortunate to see that. It will take a lot of hard work to get back from that injury and they are going to have to look into the backboard and everything."
When Noel speaks of the backboard, he is referring to the stanchion of the portable baskets used in every NBA arena. Many have argued for years the proximity of the stanchions to the court are a hazard for players because they are too close to the playing area.
George snapped his leg when he landed on the stanchion Friday night.
A discussion about changing the portable baskets is already taking place, but not before a very talented player suffered an injury that may or may not prevent him from continuing his successful basketball career.
Sixers guard Tony Wroten suffered a torn ACL playing football in high school. He returned from that injury to have a successful high school basketball career and then played one year at the University of Washington before being drafted at No. 26 in the 2012 NBA draft by the Memphis Grizzlies.
"I want to pray for Paul George and his family," Wroten said. "Injuries like that can happen anywhere, but you never want to see that happen to a person in the league and someone you know. I want to say to Paul George get well soon and I am praying for you."
Wroten is from Seattle and enjoys returning to his hometown in the summer. He recently scored 53 points playing in a Seattle Pro-Am game.
George's injury in the USA Basketball scrimmage raises the question: how much competitive basketball should an NBA player participate in during the offseason?
"When things happen like this, you always think what if," Wroten said, "but I feel like playing for your country is something people would not disagree on. You are not playing for money. And it can happen anywhere. You have to pray and continue to move forward."
George is expected to miss all of next season. A return to the NBA court would be unprecedented for a person suffering this injury.