A minor bone fracture is tough enough, but when one’s leg basically splits into two pieces, the general belief is that the injury could have a long-term impact on their health. That, however, is not necessarily accurate.
The latest victim of this gruesome injury was NBA star Paul George, whose lower leg snapped in a Team USA scrimmage on Friday. By now, the entire world has seen how the 6'9" forward's tibia and fibula got detached from his right leg.
Since then, several top orthopedic surgeons have come forward to make it clear that George's injury is not the first of its kind and that with time and proper treatment he can still get back to being the player he was before Friday.
But for those amont us who aren't convinced by the words of professional surgeons, we've compiled a list of sports stars who suffered injuries just as bad or even worse than George's, but came back stronger than ever.
Before Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there used to be a certain Henrik Larsson who was the face of Swedish football. In 1999 and at the peak of his career, Larsson suffered a double fracture in which his leg was left dangling just like George's. His injury kept him away from football for eight months but he returned that very season and went on to become the legend he was destined to. He scored 261 of his 434 career goals after that injury.
If you ask someone who knows his football, he'd tell you it's Aaron Ramsey, and not Gareth Bale, who is the most important player for the Welsh national team. Same is the case for his football club, Arsenal FC. Last year, Ramsey emerged as one of the best central midfielders in English football. Not many know, however, that he broke his tibia and fibula in 2010.
His was the mother of all sports injuries. In 2007, the then Los Angeles Clippers guard Shaun Livingston went for a routine layup and ended up suffering multiple knee injuries. To be exact, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and the lateral meniscus, sprained his medial collateral ligament (MCL), and dislocated his patella and his tibio-fibular joint.
He returned a year and a half later and is still an active player, currently on the books of the Golden State Warriors.
Legendary ice hockey player Mario Lemieux was a walking bag of injuries throughout his career. Spinal disc herniation, Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic tendonitis of a hip-flexor muscle, and chronic back pain are just some of the problems he faced during his illustrious time. He battled cancer and a major heart ailment but still managed to become a Hall of Famer in his sport. It is said that at times he used to be in such pain that he couldn't even tie his own skates.
In the 1976 German Grand Prix, Nikki Lauda was in a brutal car crash. Soon after the accident, his car caught fire. He was unable to escape the burning vehicle due, suffering severe burns and later slipping into coma on account of inhaling poisonous fumes. A little over a month later, he was back on the racing circuit for the Italian Grand Prix where he missed out on a podium finish by a small margin.
This guy basically had his throat slit during an ice hockey game – no, not by an assailant, but by the skate of another player. Blood is not an unusual sight in ice hockey games, but on that night there was so much that nine fans fainted, two suffered heart attacks and several players vomited. This was one of those rare on-field incidents in which someone almost got killed. But to everyone's surprise, Malarchuk was back in training four days later, although 300 stitches were keeping the giant tear in his throat from spilling anymore blood.
Jack Youngblood knows a thing or two about broken fibulas and how to not let it be an excuse for mediocrity. Having broken his left fibula in a 1979 Divisional Round playoff game between the Rams and Cowboys, this crazy defensive end refused to leave and went on to registered a sack in that very game. He then used a leg brace for the remainder of the playoffs and saw his team reclaim the NFC title.