"The whole injury is behind me," said the Pacers' star. "I'm trying to use my best foot to move forward."
Ushering in laughs, it was a jovial comment few likely expected to hear uttered by a professional athlete present for the express purpose of discussing a severe and currently debilitating injury, yet the quip seemed to perfectly epitomize Paul George both as a player and person.
Showing brief glimpses of vulnerability, he admitted to feeling a sort of pain he has never felt before in the immediacy of seeing his own bone sticking out of his leg. He recognized the shock he felt coming to the realization that this injury and career setback had actually happened to him. He acknowledged feeling pangs of guilt for somehow letting down his teammates, and he confessed to being very aware that he might not be back on the court this season. When asked how potentially missing a year of basketball made him feel, the lionized star replied with perfect humanness, "It hurts."
But this was just one side of the story, and as George's new ad campaign with Nike reminds fans, "There are two sides to everything."
He may miss a year of competition.
He sees the time away from the game as an opportunity to "sit back, watch the game and just learn."
Some see the Pacers' season as lost before it even starts.
He beseeches the fans not to "lose sight of what's been put together" and deep down believes "this team can get a lot of stuff accomplished this year."
His injury brought on a firestorm of criticism for USA Basketball.
He said "freak accidents happen" and aspires to compete with the Olympic Team in 2016.
He will not be on the floor with his teammates for an indefinite amount of time.
He looks forward to mentoring Solomon Hill and vows that the last thing he will do is feel likes he is not part of the team.
They say rehab can be a long, lonely process.
George welcomes the hard days and says they will "make me stronger."
With the support of family as well as teammates by his side and the constant inspiration of his mother's grave battle, Paul George sees this setback as both a challenge and opportunity. "It' s something I think I can overcome," said George. "It's a bump in the road, but I'll be able to battle through."
Where many would focus on the obstacles, the Pacers' two-time NBA All-Star looks forward to bettering himself and having the ability to share his testimony. Right now, while there may be no firm timetable for his progression through recovery, George assures his fans, "I plan on making a full recovery, coming back from this."
He says his number change from 24 to 13 was connected to television and being fun to watch. When Young Trece does finally come back as PG-13, he will be able to say he is doing so with more than just one good foot forward and, on that day, everyone should enjoy the show.