LeVert to miss Pacers’ play-in game against Hornets

Sports

Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert (22) grabs a rebound away from Toronto Raptors forward Freddie Gillespie (55) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The short-handed Indiana Pacers will be down at least one more player for Tuesday night’s play-in game against the Charlotte Hornets after forward Caris LeVert entered the league’s health and safety protocol.

Team officials made the announcement about five hours before tipoff and a day after coach Nate Bjorkgren said LeVert was feeling better and was expected to play after missing the second half of Sunday’s victory over Toronto with a migraine headache. Bjorkgren found out Tuesday morning.

“When I said he felt bad, I meant he felt bad about not being able to play,” Bjorkgren said. “He sounded fine on the phone.”

It’s the latest twist for the Pacers in an injury-filled season. Starting forward T.J. Warren hasn’t played since late December because of a stress fracture in his left foot. Center Myles Turner hasn’t played since mid-April because of a right foot injury. LeVert had surgery earlier this year to remove a cancerous growth in his kidney after being acquired in a January trade with Brooklyn and Bjorkgren said he could not confirm whether LeVert would be required to miss 10 to 14 days. If he does, it could end his season — even if the Pacers qualify for the first round of the playoffs.

Backup guard Jeremy Lamb also has been ruled out Tuesday with an injured left knee and starting forward Domantas Sabonis is listed as questionable with an injured left quad.

Indiana enters the postseason as the No. 9 seed in the East and must beat the Hornets to advance to a second play-in game Thursday. Two wins would give Indiana the No. 8 seed in the playoffs and a first-round matchup with top-seeded Philadelphia.

But the Pacers could be getting a few players back.

Guards Malcolm Brogdon (right hamstring), Aaron Holiday (right toe) and Edmond Sumner (left knee) are all considered questionable.

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