After being evaluated at a local hospital with a head injury, T.J. Warren has officially been ruled out for at least Monday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, the team announced, as he goes through the concussion protocol.
Warren left Saturday’s game against the Knicks after it appeared as though he had smacked his head on the floor during the third quarter. He also took a shot to the head earlier in the same frame when he collided with Domantas Sabonis under the basket. Warren seemed shaken up, but he continued to play after staying on the floor for the entirety of the next defensive possession as his teammates somehow managed to get a stop playing 4-on-5. After taking the subsequent hit, however, he needed help getting back to the locker-room.
While this will only be Warren’s first missed game of the season, it comes during an already intense period of change for the Pacers. With Victor Oladipo working to regain his rhythm, and his teammates adjusting to new lineup combinations, forging ahead in the absence of a rotation staple will likely only serve to complicate matters.
Given that Oladipo’s workload is scheduled to remain conservative until after the All-Star break, this latest addition on to the injury report — which, by the way, had been completely blank for the first time in over a year on Saturday — will likely result in Justin Holiday being pressed into a larger role with the starters. That said, after a two-game hiatus from the box-score, Aaron Holiday’s ability to get into the ball more at the point of attack might also come in handy as a cross-match option against Jalen Brunson’s herky-jerky speed in the absence of Luka Doncic.
“We didn’t do a good job of keeping the ball in front of us,” McMillan said at Sunday’s practice of his team’s loss to the Knicks. “They were driving and getting the ball into the paint. And once the ball gets into the paint, you’re in trouble.”
Still, while giving Marcus Morris free reign to saunter around picks stands out as a significant faux pas from winning time, the larger issue for the game was arguably what was going on at the other end of the floor and on the glass — where the offense stalled out aplenty and second chance points were surrendered in bulk (which, to be fair, was a product of the defense).
Granted, some of that can probably just be written off as an off-night (i.e. the usual starters got outscored by 16.3 points per 100 possessions); however, for the portion that can justifiably be attributed to broken plays stemming from new roles and jumbled lineups; being down T.J. Warren’s ability to manufacture something out of nothing in the half-court is most definitely inopportune.
According to the league’s concussion policy, a player who is diagnosed with a concussion is not eligible to return to any type of basketball activity that day or the day after and must be symptom free and evaluated by a physician before and while progressing through several steps of increasing exertion – from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills.
In his first season with the Pacers, Warren has shed his reputation as a defensive liability while averaging 18.4 points per game on 51-37-81 shooting splits. After failing to reach 50 games played in three of five seasons played in Phoenix, the 26-year-old scorer has appeared in all of Indiana’s first 49 games.