Cancer surgery has kept Caris LeVert out of the Indiana Pacers' lineup for over a month, but it may not keep him out for too much longer.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that LeVert, who had surgery to remove a cancerous mass on his kidney on Jan. 25, is expected to return to the Pacers' lineup in the second half of the season.
Charania calls it a "miraculous development," and it's hard to argue. However, he did note that the Pacers have no firm timetable for LeVert's return and will be patient as he ramps back up to full strength.
Trade to Pacers may have saved LeVert's life
LeVert was part of the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 14, and until then, he had no idea that there was anything wrong with him. It wasn't until he had to undergo the required team physical that Pacers doctors found a problem.
An MRI showed that he had a small mass on his left kidney. It was possible that it could have been benign, but further tests revealed that it was renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.
LeVert knows that the trade and the required team physical may have saved his life. Without that, who knows when the mass would have been found.
“I didn’t have any symptoms. I was playing in games. I hadn’t missed any games this season yet. I was feeling 100 percent healthy,” LeVert said via ESPN. “So, in a way, this trade definitely 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 this trade could’ve possibly saved me in the long run.”
When the Pacers announced LeVert's successful surgery on Jan. 26, they were also able to share more good news: with the mass removed, LeVert wouldn't need any additional cancer treatment. That's likely why he's going to be able to return in the second half of the season — with no chemotherapy or radiation treatment, LeVert can focus on his recovery and getting himself fully healthy so he can get back to business this spring and summer.
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