Pacers forward T.J. Warren to undergo left foot surgery and is out indefinitely
The Pacers' top scorer last season has a lengthy recovery ahead of him.
The Pacers will be without T.J. Warren for the foreseeable future after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot that will require surgery.
The news was announced after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, an hour after the Pacers beat the Cavs by 20 to improve to 4-1. He was on the bench for the win, but was not in uniform after being ruled out the day before.
Warren, 27, was one of the standout players in the Disney bubble and led the team in scoring last season with a career-best 19.8 points per game. He was averaging 15.5 points per game this season and shooting 53 percent.
It’s not immediately known who will perform the surgery.
“He will be back stronger!! Believe that!” Victor Oladipo wrote on Instagram.
Warren has a history of injuries to his other foot. He suffered a fracture to the middle of his right one in Jan. 2016 while in Phoenix, needed surgery and missed the rest of the season.
Now in his second season with the Pacers, plantar fasciitis developed in that same foot during the July restart and was held out of two games. It is a painful injury, the same one that kept Domantas Sabonis from playing in the bubble, and requires extensive rest. It persisted in camp and caused Warren to miss the entire preseason.
This injury is specifically to the navicular bone in the middle of his left foot. It has a high return-to-play rate, but involves a lengthy recovery.
“Navicular fractures are rare but not unheard of in the NBA,” according to Jeff Stotts, an athletic trainer who is required reading for NBA injuries on InStreetClothes.com. Players like Bol Bol, Dion Waiters, Pau and Marc Gasol, Joel Embiid and Yao Ming sustained navicular fractures and missed a significant portion of the season.
It’s a significant buzzkill for the Pacers, who have impressed in the first week of the season and should only get better in time with the new coaching staff, roster chemistry and the return of Jeremy Lamb from injury.
In the meantime, more playing time is likely for Doug McDermott, Justin Holiday and even Kelan Martin. Martin, the Butler University product, got his first meaningful minutes Thursday against the Cavaliers, but missed all six shot attempts.
“I love how he competes,” Bjorkgren said. “He’s just been staying ready all along. And I told him I was gonna come to him here eventually.”
The 2020-21 regular season is scheduled to run into May — five months from now — with the playoffs tentatively set to begin May 22.
Warren — acquired via trade with Phoenix on draft night in 2019 — will earn $12 million this season and is under contract through the 2021-22 season.
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