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Myles Turner out indefinitely due to toe injury

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Turner’s injury puts the Pacers down by a man — again.

Indiana Pacers v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

In a season that continues to be defined by injuries, the Indiana Pacers will be without Myles Turner indefinitely after an MRI revealed a partial tear of his plantar plate in the great toe of his right foot, the team announced Monday.

Turner, after missing the prior six games due to a reaggravated ankle injury, returned to the starting lineup against the Hawks on Sunday afternoon, scoring nine points (2-of-9 shooting) to go with 11 rebounds while making an impact with his defense against Atlanta’s reserves in solo minutes.

It’s a tough break for Turner, who in leading the league in both blocks per game and defensive field goal percentage around the rim, has given himself a strong chance to nab All-Defense honors with 16 games left to play.

From a team standpoint, the injury will reinsert Goga Bitadze back into the rotation while also putting continued pressure on the pace of the offense to outscore opponents, as has been the case over the last nine games, with the Pacers surrendering 116.4 points per 100 possessions (good for 26th in the league) while also ranking dead-last in paint-points allowed and opponent offensive rebounding rate.

Heading into tonight’s game against the Spurs, Indiana sits at ninth in the East, with a three-game lead over the 10th-placed Raptors and 11-placed Bulls, both of whom have much tougher remaining schedules (7th and 2nd, respectively), while also — at least with regard to the latter — dealing with key absences of their own (i.e. Zach LaVine).

Overall, while it isn’t clear yet how long Turner will be out, the reality that the Pacers must once again forge ahead with 3/5 of a starting lineup only seems to continue the ongoing trend of the last two seasons: Welp, there’s always next year.