After a strong start to this strange and compact NBA season, the Pacers are enduring a stretch of adversity which is as reliable at some point in the NBA season as noticing the days getting a bit longer at this time of year.
The Pacers have been working through some mild adversity over the past few weeks after losing T.J. Warren before Jeremy Lamb was ready to return, yet still finding ways to regularly compete for wins.
But now the team has also lost Victor Oladipo and are unable to replace him with Caris LeVert. Lamb is reportedly close to returning but we’re still waiting while also holding out hope Warren will be available before the end of the season.
On Monday afternoon, team prez Kevin Pritchard was on The Dan Dakich Show and revealed a more optimistic prognosis for the return of LeVert this season than he did when he initially addressed the media on the topic over the weekend.
The best news is that the trade physicals caught a problem in the early stages, and as the team continues gathering more information they are confident going through with the trade was the right move. LeVert will likely have surgery, but Pritchard mentioned the hope (yes, I keep using the term hope because nothing is set in stone) that LeVert could pick up a basketball in 6-8 weeks and if so, would then work toward a return if all goes well.
Pritchard also gave some love to Lance Stephenson toward the end of the discussion, saying he would be keeping an eye on Stephenson for any games he ends up playing with the G League. He emphasized how much he appreciates Stephenson for his hoops passion and how he is always looking for a game.
Listen to the full interview here, starting at the 1:11:30 mark.
The Pacers have more adversity to deal with besides all of the missing wing players from their regular rotation. Myles Turner leads the league in blocks and defensive impact but appears to be sidelined in the short term after hurting his hand in Portland. The injury kept him out against the Clippers which showed up in a hurry when Turner wasn’t around to deter the Clips from attacking the rim which they did early and often.
On Monday, presumably after getting checked out by the medical folks, Turner posted an update via Instagram story which showed him with a brace on his right hand and a caption that read: “Minor setback I’ll be back soon!”
Key word, ‘soon’ which sounds much less optimistic than say ‘Wednesday’ or maybe, ‘this week’, no? Hopefully, soon is soon because the Pacers have a challenging schedule with the Mavericks, Magic and Raptors (back-to-back) at the Fieldhouse this week followed by a pair of games in Charlotte. Have you seen the Hornets play this year? They are a problem, much like the Pacers trying to play without four of their top six rotation players is a problem if forced to do so for an extended period of time.
On the positive tip, this adversity also opens up opportunity and the chance for other player to step in an produce in a bigger role. Once healthy, this team is going to be a problem to play for any team, they just need to hold it together to give them a chance to play some meaningful games once they are all ready to roll.
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