INDIANAPOLIS — Speaking publicly for the first time since breaking his leg in Las Vegas two weeks ago, Indiana Pacers star Paul George answered questions about his future on Friday.
"I plan on making a full recovery," he said. "It will make me stronger."
George's entrance to Bankers Life Fieldhouse was lined with team employees waiting to welcome him home.
At a news conference earlier this week, Pacers President Larry Bird said George has been back in Indianapolis for a week following surgery in Las Vegas.
The expectation is that George will miss the entire 2014-15 season.
"I would love to play this year. I know there's a possibility that I won't be back this year, I'm aware of that," George said.
Other highlights of his comments:
George opened by thanking NBA fans, USA Basketball fans and "of course, Pacers fans. They've made it very easy to overcome this, because of their support."
On USA Basketball's role:
He thanked USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski, describing the injury as a freak accident. George said any criticism of USA Basketball is unfair. He would like to play in the 2016 Olympics.
On the injury:
"When I looked down and saw my bone sticking out, I knew it was bad. I've felt pain before. This was a pain I've never felt before.
"It felt like gasoline was on my leg and someone lit a match. Felt like my leg was in flames. It was a quick five minutes then my body went into shock."
VIDEO: Bird, Vogel talk about George
Pacers coach Frank Vogel and president Larry Bird speak to the news media for the first time since Paul George's injury. Clark Wade, The Indianapolis Star
On what it's been like since the injury:
"It's been tough. I can't lie. As the weeks have gone on, it's gotten easier. I've been catching up on TV series, playing video games and enjoying my family.
"We have a great psychologist here. We discussed how to approach and attack this. I'm not looking at this as something negative for my career. I plan to make a full recovery."
George said he broke his leg in two places. There is a rod in the leg through his knee and ankle. He will begin rehab work next week with his knee and upper body.
No timeline for his return has been established. George didn't dismiss the possibility of returning let in the season or missing the entire year.
Teammate Roy Hibbert visited George in Las Vegas, bringing him gummy bears and a "silk, fur blanket to lay in." George also mentioned Floyd Mayweather, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade as being among the visitors.
On his number change:
George said he first considered wearing No. 13 as a rookie but was superstitious and wouldn't change from 24, which he's always worn. He applied to change two years ago but another player picked 13.
"At that stage where I'm ready to embrace everything that comes with being one of the young stars in the league. The whole thing is being able to enjoy the show and being fun to watch."
He had to buy 600-700 pieces of apparel, per league rules, to change his number.
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GALLERY: George breaks leg in scrimmage