There will always be an element of Where Were You When? surrounding the Paul George injury. You hope that it isn’t a major franchise-altering moment for the Indiana Pacers, but even if PG makes a full recovery and the team regains its contender status, nobody will ever forget seeing — or even hearing about — something so gruesome.
For Donald Sloan, he was in a car watching the Team USA scrimmage on an iPhone. He discussed the moment on Saturday night from the campus of IUPUI, reports Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports.
“We were out eating and George Hill had just left the restaurant and we had just gotten to the car and we’re watching it live on an iPhone,” Sloan told local reporters, via FOX 59. “Then one of my friends said ‘Somebody’s hurt.’”
“I was like ‘Oh, let me see’. They wouldn’t show who was on the court and then I go to Twitter and it said ‘Oh no, not Paul’ and I’m like ‘Oh Man.’ I didn’t know what happened, but I knew he was the one that was hurt.”
“…I’m sure Paul is going to comeback with high spirits, high hopes. With the A1 care that we have, I’m sure it will be a speedy recovery.”
Arguably Sloan’s most interesting comment about Paul George came next, however.
“…He’s the one who held the locker room together as long as it was together,” Sloan said. “You’re losing the face of the team, great athlete, but your losing that glue guy in the locker room as well.”
Hmmm. “As long as it was together?”
I wasn’t there and how players say things is often more meaningful than the words themselves, but it certainly sounds like Sloan believes the locker room came apart at some point last season. This isn’t a shocking revelation, but the line most players have taken publicly is that everything was hunky dory last year in locker room; it was merely on-court failings that caused the late-season collapse and near-first-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Combined with Lance Stephenson’s comment that he thinks the Charlotte Hornets are “more of a family,” we’re starting to see a bit more circumstantial evidence that internal grievances were real and that might not stay in-house forever.
Sloan wasn’t just hanging out at IUPUI to talk about Paul George and make me speculate on chemistry issues, however.
He was there to make his debut in the Indy Knox Pro Am league, scoring 22 points on 18 shots and dropping 6 assists in a loss, per Agness.
The reserve point guard has a non-guaranteed contract for the upcoming season. Given the current turmoil and uncertainty around the team, it is possible that he could get waived if the Pacers decide to make major moves. The team can only roster 15 plaayers.
But expect Sloan to be back. He has been working out in Indy a lot this summer, and it would be surprising if he isn’t with the Pacers next season.
I can’t envision the front office cutting Sloan unless they felt it was absolutely necessary. He struggled to contribute last year, but did his best after being forced into a backup role when C.J. Watson missed more than a month with an injury.