Discover more from Fieldhouse Files with Scott Agness
T.J. McConnell suffers right wrist injury that will keep him out, Brad Wanamaker now called upon
Already without T.J. Warren and Justin Holiday, the Pacers will now be without their reliable backup point guard for a while.
The Pacers will be without reserve guard T.J. McConnell for some time after he suffered an injury to his right wrist early in Wednesday’s crushing loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
“He’s gonna be out for a while,” head coach Rick Carlisle said after practice on Thursday.
McConnell was evaluated by the team doctor and plans to get an additional evaluation before the weekend and then they will decide the next course of action, a league source told Fieldhouse Files.
The injury happened with 4:22 left in the first quarter as he reached in and tried to swipe the ball from Hawks center Clint Capela. He then ran down the floor to the offensive end and held his right wrist/thumb area, which had been bothering him anyway for a month.
The Hawks called a timeout at the 3:57 mark, McConnell went back to the locker room for evaluation and did not return. Watch that play below.
McConnell, who’s in his third season with the Pacers, was one of three players to play in each of the first 24 games, along with Domantas Sabonis and Torrey Craig. A couple weeks ago, he was playing the best basketball of his career.
Now you know why it was so important to Carlisle during camp to bring in a veteran third-string point guard. A big opportunity is now there for Brad Wanamaker, 32.
“He’s showed us that he’s ready, he’s kept himself ready and played real well in that game at Charlotte a week and a half ago,” Carlisle said. “He’s a veteran, he knows our system, know his strengths and so he’s going to be an important part of the picture here.”
After practice on Thursday, he got shooting work in with forwards Craig and Oshae Brissett.
Wanamaker is not just happy to be here. He stayed ready for an opportunity like this one. He was disappointed in the lack of NBA interest in the offseason and was insulted by offers both overseas and two-ways.
“You stay ready for that opportunity, but when the calls didn’t come in or you’re getting certain calls that you feel is a joke, you have your down moments,” he admitted. “But I’m here and I’m taking advantage of it and living in the now.
“I’m happy I kept myself mentally and physically ready. … Just got to come out there, try to lead, try to make some plays for us on both ends of the floor and try to bring some juice to the floor.”
That juice will be needed while McConnell is unavailable. He’s the lightning bolt off the bench, he pushes the pace and played with the energy this team needs more of. Wanamaker has appeared in half their games and averaged 3.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
The Pacers are 9-15 and have lost four of their last five games, which led to a postgame film session led by Carlisle Wednesday night.
“It’s still early in the season,” Wanamaker said. “We wish the record was better than what it is, but it’s still a learning experience. We got a chance to turn things around with a good home stretch to try to get our mind’s right, mentally and physically get together and hopefully build off a win on Friday.”