The depth and versatility of the 23rd-ranked Tennessee men's basketball team took a hit when senior combo guard Josh Bone suffered a fractured left wrist against Brevard Wednesday night.
Bone's injury, which has left him in a cast with a six-to-eight week rehabilitation period, occurred in the final minutes of the exhibition game and wasn't disclosed until Thursday's practice.
"All the other injuries ... were minor inconveniences - this is a serious injury,'' Pearl said. "After the game I talked about defense, that it would come down to defense (who played).
"Josh is one of our best defensive guards. It's his defense, his physicality, 3-point shooting ..."
Bone fell out of the 10-man rotation over the past week on account of a strained quadriceps injury that has hampered him throughout the past month of drills.
Pearl said he believes Bone, once healthy, would have likely worked his way back into the rotation where he could be used at point guard, shooting guard or even on the wing against certain opponents.
Bone, from Nashville, injured his wrist against Brevard when he collided with a defender and landed hard on the court.
It's not known if Bone will attempt to return this season or file an appeal to the NCAA for another year of eligibility. He's on track to graduate at the end of this academic year.
Bone transferred to UT two years ago from Southern Illinois, joining the Vols as a walk-on. He was placed on scholarship this fall after making key contributions throughout UT's run to its first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance last season.
Against Ole Miss, Bone came up big in the clutch, shutting down All-SEC guard Chris Warren in the final seconds to force overtime in a game the Vols eventually won.
Bone re-emerged in the NCAA tournament, proving to be the answer for hot-shooting Cinderella Ohio, pushing the Vols into the Sweet 16.
Hall Update: Sophomore Kenny Hall remains sidelined, missing Thursday's practice. Hall re-injured the foot Tuesday, the same foot he had surgery on July 23. Hall was out of the protective boot Thursday and could return to practice as early as next week.
Cameron Tatum (bone bruise, knee) returned to practice Monday but didn't play against Brevard. Tatum is expected to play against Indianapolis in Monday night's exhibition at Thompson-Boling Arena. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Special Summitt: Pearl said the 3-point shot that walk-on Tyler Summitt hit in the closing moments against Brevard was a special moment.
"Tyler texted me last night and said he appreciated the opportunity to be out there,'' Pearl said. "I said, 'Tyler, a good coach would have got it to you more than once.'
"That (shot) was special, just like it was special when (walk-on) Michael Hubert played against Chattanooga two years ago. It's the same type of thing as Skylar McBee making that shot against Kansas, or Bone versus Ole Miss.''
Hubert, a senior walk-on point guard, started his career at Chattanooga before walking on with the Vols.