INDIANAPOLIS — Good news for the Pacers' new guard Caris LeVert after undergoing successful surgery on Monday to treat renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney.
The team said no further treatment is needed and LeVert should make a full recovery. He will be out indefinitely as he recovers from the surgery.
If LeVert hadn't gone from Brooklyn to Houston in the James Harden deal, then from the Rockets to Indiana in exchange for Victor Oladipo, it's unclear when — or if — the mass would have been detected.
“I hadn't missed any games this season yet. I was 100 percent healthy," he said during a video call last week. “In a way, this trade showed and revealed what was going on in my body. So I’m definitely looking at it from that side and definitely humbled to know that that this trade could have saved me in the long run."
LeVert spent his first four and half 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, a career high 6.0 assists and a career best 4.3 rebounds prior to the trade.
LeVert was expected to replace Oladipo in the lineup and help add scoring punch with T.J. Warren out indefinitely after having surgery for a stress fracture in his left foot.
While first-year coach Nate Bjorkgren said he's hopeful the Pacers' top scorer from last season returns, he acknowledged the front office continues to work on a rehab plan.
The good news is guard Jeremy Lamb's return could give Indiana another scorer.
He hasn't played since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last February but has been practicing, and Bjorkgren said he expects Lamb back “very soon.”
And if LeVert makes it back, the Pacers could be near full strength perhaps in time for the playoffs.