MIAMI -- Dolphins starting wide receiver Brian Hartline has an interesting perspective on Indiana Pacers star Paul George's open tibia-fibula fracture suffered Friday during the U.S. national team's intrasquad scrimmage.
Hartline knows what the NBA All-Star currently is going through, because he suffered a nearly identical leg fracture while playing football during his senior year in high school.
Hartline, 27, said he came back stronger and a better athlete after his broken leg and believes George will do the same.
"I think so. Bones typically, when they break, they heal stronger," Hartline told ESPN.com Saturday after the Dolphins' scrimmage. "They calcify, they get even thicker and they become even stronger. So, to me, I felt like I got faster afterwards, because you do so much ankle mobility, so much calf work, you do so much strengthening that you usually don't do and take for granted. You go from being on top, to ground zero and you just rebuild back up. I feel like you get stronger."
Hartline had 90-degree breaks to both his tibia and fibula during the first football game of his senior season in high school. According to Hartline, he went through a six-to-eight month rehab but was running again by January. Hartline later won two Ohio state championships the following spring for hurdling.
Hartline believes George is an even better athlete than he is and should have a better recovery.
"I was reading everybody saying, 'Ah, his career might be over.' His career is not anywhere near over," Hartline said of George. "He'll be fine. He's a freak athlete. He'll do awesome, he'll work hard. That's my perspective."
Nearly a decade later, Hartline said he feels no ill effects from his leg fractures. Hartline went on to have a successful college career at Ohio State and most recently posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Dolphins in 2012 and '13.
Hartline is living proof that a pro athlete can return from this brutal leg injury and thrive at the highest levels. He's rooting for George to do the same and said he's willing to reach out to the NBA star and offer advice on recovery, if needed.
"I thought my world was over," Hartline said. "I got a commitment to Ohio State. I thought, 'I'm never playing football again.' Sure enough, doctors told me stay to the grind and it will heal. I took care of it, did it the right way and I feel like I came back stronger."