Christmas, Niang missing summer league games with injuries

Rakeem Christmas and Georges Niang are missing quality game action as the Pacers take part in the Orlando Summer League.

Through two (of five) games, Rakeem Christmas has not yet played due to a sprained left ankle sustained in practice on Thursday. He’s with the team in Orlando, but coach Popeye Jones has kept him off of the court.

Niang, meanwhile, was injured 87 seconds into their first game, a 85-74 win over Orlando on Saturday. As he went for a rebound, teammate Trey McKinney-Jones collided with Niang’s left knee. He did not return, will soon get an MRI and is out for the rest of the week, Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star reports.

The team officially called it a left knee sprain.

That’s just unlucky.

Keep in mind that Niang’s contract for the 2017-18 season, which would pay him $905,249, does not become guaranteed until July 15. Christmas’ contract, paying him $1.1 million next season, becomes guaranteed on July 6.

During his rookie season last year, Niang appeared in 23 games and averaged 0.9 points and 0.7 rebounds per contest. Christmas (2.0 points, 1.9 rebounds per game) appeared in 29 games.

(Click here for their full roster and game schedule)

Summer League play is a time for players already on NBA rosters to shine. Remember ex-Pacers Kareem Rush and Tyler Hansbrough down in Orlando? They killed it.

Last summer, Joe Young got off to a great start but then was bothered by a back injury the rest of the way.

Pacers first-round pick T.J. Leaf was not with the team for their first game. One of his older brothers got married on Saturday and he was the best man. Augusto Cesar Lima did not play in game two because of a sore lower back.

Despite key players missing time, the Pacers improved to 2-0 in summer league on Sunday with a 84-77 win over Charlotte.

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