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Caris LeVert to make Pacers debut vs. Suns

The guard was acquired in early January but has yet to play a game for Indiana.

From NBA.com News Services

Caris LeVert averaged 18.5 ppg and 4.3 rpg this season in Brooklyn.

Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert — who had surgery to treat cancer of his left kidney in January — is slated to make his first appearance in the lineup on Saturday vs. Phoenix (10 ET, NBA League Pass). Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren told reporters that LeVert will not be under a minutes restriction.

The former Nets guard had already expressed confidence he would play when speaking to media following Friday’s loss to the Lakers, saying “I do expect to play [tomorrow] against Phoenix.”

LeVert had surgery to treat renal cell carcinoma of the kidney that was discovered during the physical to complete the trade that brought him to the Pacers. Indiana acquired LeVert as a part of the four-team mega-trade that sent former Kia MVP James Harden from Houston to Brooklyn.

LeVert credited the trade for potentially saving his life as the MRI conducted during the course of the physical revealed his cancer. He spent his first four 1/2 seasons with the Nets after the Pacers selected him in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft.

He was expected to replace Victor Oladipo (who was traded to Houston) and help replace forward T.J. Warren, who is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot.

In each of his first four NBA seasons, LeVert’s scoring totals have improved despite him largely coming off the bench during that span. He was averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 2020-21, the last two categories being career bests.

The Pacers traded for LeVert on Jan. 13, at which time they were 7-4 and had the sixth-best record in the NBA. Since then, Indiana has practically flip-flopped, going 9-15 while dealing with a myriad of injuries.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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