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Pacers injury update: Thad Young to sit out preseason opener, T.J. Leaf to start

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The Pacers finally play a preseason game on Thursday but they will not be at full strength for the first practice game against the Rockets.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers will open up preseason play without Thad Young in his usual starting forward spot when they visit the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

Young has been bothered throughout training camp by a bone bruise on his right foot, which has kept his activity to a minimum. With Thad sidelined, T.J. Leaf will get the starting nod along with a big opportunity to show off his development from his rookie year and Summer League.

Leaf will join the usual starting group of Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mylers Turner. The circumstances that open up the starting spot for Leaf don’t necessarily mean he is a lock for second-unit minutes to begin the season. In fact, it is more likely that Leaf is on the fringe of the bench unit since starting him in place of Thad allows Nate McMillan to run out the first draft of his playing rotation with all players available as normal.

Regardless, the best way for Leaf to crack that regular season playing rotation is to play and play well when he gets a chance in the preseason, so opportunity is knocking for the second-year forward.

As McMillan said earlier in the week, he is looking forward to seeing several of those players not considered to begin the season in the playing rotation. So are Pacers fans no doubt. Personally, I can’t wait to see Edmond Sumner who has earned plenty of buzz during practice and Alize Johnson who everyone feels can make a unique impact on the game. Those two along with Aaron Holiday who appears to be shooting the three-ball real easy so far during training camp.

Anyone else? What lineup combos are you looking forward to seeing? Soon!!!!

Tip time on Thursday at 8 PM ET on NBA TV.