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Pacers forward George's fitness in question after concussion

(Reuters) - The Indiana Pacers' hopes for an NBA championship suffered a setback when All-Star forward Paul George was diagnosed with a concussion on Wednesday.

George had said on Tuesday he had "blacked out" after being kicked in the back of the head by Miami's Dwyane Wade in an 87-83 loss to the Heat in Game Two of the Eastern conference final.

The Pacers ordered a follow-up evaluation on Wednesday and George was diagnosed by the team’s consulting neurologist with a concussion.

There was no immediate word on whether he will be available for Game Three on Saturday in Miami. The best-of-seven series is level at one game apiece.George will begin the NBA-mandated protocol for return-to-participation after a diagnosed concussion.

He was examined by medical staff after Tuesday's game but exhibited no symptoms of concussion and denied feeling any dizziness, nausea or issues with his vision, said the Pacers in a statement on their website.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the game that he did not believe George’s injury was serious and that he had been cleared to return to the court.

“The only information I got during the game was that he was good to go," Vogel said.

Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, director of the NBA concussion program, said, "The Indiana Pacers medical team followed the NBA concussion protocol and there was no indication of concussion during the game.

"This case illustrates that concussion evaluation is an ongoing process and manifestations of the injury may not always present immediately.”

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson was fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league's anti-flopping rules during Game Two.

Stephenson, who had a game high 25 points, becomes the first player to be fined for flopping during the playoffs after embellishing a collision with LeBron James during the third quarter on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Indianapolis, Editing by Gene Cherry)

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