This was Kevin Pritchard's first terrible thought, one that was shared by almost everybody who saw Paul George's gruesome lower right leg injury Friday night in Las Vegas.

"Oh, my God, this is career-ending," the Pacers' general manager thought as he watched from his seat 15 rows above the court.

By late Saturday afternoon, though, Pritchard was more upbeat and speaking more bravely about George's eventual return to the basketball court. As he spoke, he was standing in the hallway of a Las Vegas hospital, just outside George's room, where Paul's parents stood vigil as an IV of antibiotics coursed through their son's veins.

"What I've learned through this process is that it's not (career-ending)," said a tired Pritchard, who stayed awake in the hospital all of last night and Saturday morning. "It's actually a good thing. It's bone and bone only. It doesn't look like any soft-tissue damage. We're not trying to project when he's coming back, just trying to get him through this week and then we'll know more, but the biggest risk right now is infection. That looks really good right now. They just changed his dressing and it looks really good.

"…I have no fear he'll be back and back in a big way. We're not going to put a timetable on it but I don't think there's any doubt he'll be back."

When it happened Friday night during a USA Basketball showcase, Pritchard tried to run onto the floor to help George, who was already being tended to by his parents, trainers and doctors. But he could not make his way. So he went directly to the hospital and was there when the ambulance arrived with George and his parents, Paul and Paulette.

George was taken into surgery around 10 p.m. Shortly afterward, Pritchard, who joked he's spoken to the doctor "about 500 times," walked away feeling better about George's health and, by extension, his basketball future.