There’s still 26 days remaining until the Pacers play their first exhibition game, but that hasn’t stopped the injury report from picking up where it left off at the end of last season, as Edmond Sumner has suffered a tear to his left Achilles tendon and will be out indefinitely.
The injury, following closely behind news that T.J. Warren’s foot is healing more slowly than expected, occurred during an offseason workout on Thursday, the team announced.
Sumner, who eventually earned a spot on the 15-man standard roster after playing on two-way contract, is no stranger to injuries, as he began his NBA career recovering from knee and shoulder surgeries and spent a portion of the 2019-20 season rehabbing from a broken hand in Fort Wayne, alongside Victor Oladipo. This past season, after collecting 11 DNPs through the team’s first 30 games, Sumner averaged 19 minutes per game as a more regular part of the rotation following the All-Star break, demonstrating his ability to contribute as a slashing cutter and tenacious defender when pressed into service.
“Those consistent minutes helped me out a lot,” Sumner explained during his exit interview. “Being comfortable, knowing you’re going to get those minutes each game no matter how you play, that really builds your confidence.”
Beyond finding seams in the defense and sprinting hard in transition, Sumner also impressed with his amorphous finishing around the rim and improved shooting stroke, going 35-of-88 from deep (39.8 percent) in his fourth year, after connecting on only 21-of -80 tries (26.2 percent) over his first three seasons.
From the team’s perspective, with Chris Duarte appearing mostly unbothered at Summer League and the possibility looming that Jeremy Lamb may need to play in order to boost his trade value, Sumner’s spot in the rotation may have already been tenuous, though the injury is certainly a bummer and puts the Pacers shorter on overall depth.
In a pinch, DeJon Jarreau’s mix of attack, versatility, and size for position, albeit on two-way contract, could also serve as a potential source of relief along with Kelan Martin.
That said, seeing as how the Pacers finished last season in the absence of three starters and already project to open training camp with at least two players on the shelf, it seems fair to question whether this roster will ever be reasonably healthy enough to warrant the continued hope in eventual continuity.