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Indiana Pacers' Caris LeVert dealing with stress fracture in back

Indiana Pacers' Caris LeVert dealing with stress fracture in back
Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert (R), shown May 3, 2021, averaged 20.2 points over 35 games for the Pacers last season. File Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert is dealing with a stress fracture in his back, but the team remains optimistic that it might only be a minor setback and he could return near the start of the season.

"Slight discomfort. Up until today I've been practicing and doing all that type of stuff," LeVert told reporters Tuesday. "So it's not anything severe, but you know, obviously something to be cautious about.

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"... We're still waiting to hear back for more opinions and things like that to get definite timetables. But for right now, we're just being cautious and playing it by ear."

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LeVert, who was traded to Indiana from the Brooklyn Nets as part of the James Harden deal, averaged 20.2 points, 5.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds over 35 games for the Pacers last season.

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LeVert's physical with the Pacers after the blockbuster trade in January revealed a cancerous mass on his kidney that required surgery later that month. He eventually made his debut for Indiana in March.

The Pacers selected LeVert in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft out of the University of Michigan. His draft rights were traded to the Nets in July 2016 in exchange for Thaddeus Young.

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LeVert then spent his first five seasons in Brooklyn before being sent back to Indiana earlier this year.

In 260 career games (133 starts) between the Nets and Pacers, LeVert has averaged 14.1 points, 3.9 assists and 3.9 rebounds.

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