Indianapolis — Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert will be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to treat a cancerous growth on his left kidney.
Team officials made the announcement Tuesday and said the 26-year-old LeVert (Michigan) is expected to make a full recovery. The Pacers said no additional treatment is needed.
Doctors found the small mass during a routine, post-trade physical and immediately conducted additional tests. LeVert was part of the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden from Houston to Brooklyn then was dealt by the Rockets to Indiana for Victor Oladipo.
The Pacers said LeVert was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma and had surgery Monday at a local hospital.
“It’s definitely been some trying times for myself and my family,” LeVert said during his introductory news conference last week. “I’m just very grateful for the support I’ve received not only from the players but from the front office and the fans. It’s going to be a crazy recovery as well, but I think myself and the Pacers are really optimistic about the future.”
LeVert spent his first 4½ seasons with the Nets after the Pacers selected him in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft.
After a solid rookie season, his scoring average increased each of the next three seasons and this season started as his best yet. He was averaging 18.5 points, six assists and 4.3 rebounds.
Indiana expected LeVert to replace Oladipo in the starting lineup as well as provide some scoring punch as last season’s top scorer, T.J. Warren, recovers from foot surgery.
The Pacers have again been hit hard by injuries this seasosn.
In addition to the absences of LeVert and Warren, All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis sat out the final three quarters of Monday’s victory over Toronto with a bruised knee. Center Myles Turner, who leads the NBA in blocks, has been playing with a fractured right hand.
While getting LeVert back healthy certainly would help solidify the lineup. neither president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard nor LeVert has established a potential timetable for a return.
“I didn’t have any symptoms. I was playing in games, hadn’t missed any games yet,” LeVert said. “In a way, this trade definitely showed and revealed what was going on in my body so I’m definitely looking at it from that side of it and this trade could have saved me in the long run.”