CINCINNATI -- Basketball season is over for Xavier point guard Edmond Sumner due to a torn ACL in his left knee.
The sophomore’s left leg bent awkwardly as he went up for a layup Sunday night against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He left Xavier’s 82-77 victory with 6:01 remaining.
Sumner’s ACL tear was confirmed Monday morning via an MRI in Cincinnati. Team physician Dr. Robert Burger said Sumner will have surgery soon at a date to be determined.
Xavier coach Chris Mack said in a release that he was “devastated for Edmond.”
“Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to great people,” Mack said. “Through diligent rehab, hard work and prayer, I know Ed will return to the court better than ever. He’s an awesome kid, a fearless competitor and a terrific teammate. I’m going to miss coaching him the rest of the year. As far as our current team is concerned, our goals have not changed. Next man up.”
Sumner leaves a massive void on the team, not only as the offensive engineer but as the team’s second-leading scorer (15 points per game) and assists leader (5 apg). The 6-foot-6 player’s ability to attack the rim and deliver high-flying dunks energized the Musketeers, as did his ability to find the open man.
Sumner’s entire Xavier career has been injury-addled. He was shelved his first year due to chronic tendonitis in his knees and last year suffered a horrific fall at Villanova that resulted in a concussion.
This season he has had various bumps and bruises, including taped fingers on his non-shooting hand and two left shoulder injuries that caused him to wear a harness-like brace. He showed his ability to play with an ailing shoulder at St. John’s, only to be sidelined by his left knee.
How the upcoming surgery and subsequent rehab affect Sumner’s future is yet to be determined.
Our Villanova Basketball family has @EdmondSumner in our thoughts and prayers - hoping for a 100% recovery !!
— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) January 30, 2017
— Coach McDermott (@cucoachmac) January 30, 2017
He has two years of college eligibility remaining, but he’s also a projected first-round NBA draft pick. Sports Illustrated recently rated Sumner as the 21st best player in the draft and estimated he would be taken by the Atlanta Hawks.
NBADraft.net has Sumner as the No. 26 pick, headed to Toronto, while DraftExpress.com pegs him as the 27th pick going to the Houston Rockets.
The draft is June 22. If Sumner remains a first-round pick after his injury and rehab, it’s unlikely he will play another game in a Xavier uniform.
The season-ending news is another blow for a Musketeers team that recently gained and lost senior guard Myles Davis. Xavier (15-6, 5-3 Big East) is down to eight scholarship players -- nine counting the little-used walk-on-turned-scholarship-player Tim Stainbrook – with 10 regular-season games to go.
Freshman Quentin Goodin will benefit most from additional minutes as he takes over Sumner’s duties at the point. The good news is that Goodin has played solid defense all season, and his offense has recently made big strides.
Goodin contributed a career-high 16 points at St. John’s behind 7-of-9 free-throw shooting. He went 6-for-7 from the stripe and converted a layup in the final six minutes after Sumner’s departure.
The road victory was a huge testament to the Musketeers’ resilience without the injured Sumner. St. John’s rallied with a 10-0 run before Goodin put XU back on the board with two free throws. Xavier outscored the Johnnies 12-11 in the last four minutes to escape with the victory.
Moving forward, Xavier will have a razor-thin margin of error against teams like No. 4 Villanova and No. 16 Butler. The team will require significant contributions from players that have not been as productive, including its frontcourt.
Xavier’s first game without Sumner is Wednesday at 9 p.m. against Seton Hall at Cintas Center.
The Musketeers returned to practice at 3 p.m. Monday without Sumner, but he wasn't far from his teammates' thoughts:
Prayers up for @EdmondSumner stay strong. God has a plan for you...
— Trevon Bluiett (@TrevonBluiett) January 30, 2017
Praying for my brother @EdmondSumner to have a fast and healthy recovery
— Jp Macura (@jpmacura) January 30, 2017
Always riding & praying for you brother! Minor setback, MAJOR COMEBACK! We gon keep this thing going @EdmondSumner
— RaShid Gaston (@3rsg5) January 30, 2017
POLL DROP: After 1-1 week that started with a loss at Cincinnati in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout and continued with the win over St. John’s in New York City, Xavier on Monday dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25.
The Musketeers were No. 24 last week. They fell to the Receiving Votes portion of the poll, where they start this week with 67 votes. Technically, they’re No. 27.
Xavier fell from 22nd to 25th in Monday’s USA Today Coaches Poll.