Pacers Playing Through Adversity
Adversity has been a common theme for the Indiana Pacers this season, and it has had a major impact on the team and its overall record.
The loss of TJ Warren early in the season set the team back in a big way, but the Pacers have continued to deal with injuries to a number of key players.
The Pacers have been playing without nearly all of their inside players this week, and one of them could potentially be lost for the remainder of the season. Indiana has still managed to win games to stay in the playoff race, but this team has not been able to go on a long winning streak.
Center Myles Turner is now out of the lineup indefinitely after suffering an injury to his big toe on his right foot. An MRI confirmed a partial tear of the plantar plate, and team doctors are currently trying to determine the best course of action.
Doctors have confirmed that surgery will likely be needed at some point, and that would end the season for Turner. There is a chance that he could attempt to play through the injury, but that decision has not yet been made.
Turner is averaging 12.6 points per game this season, but he is once again a strong candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. He leads the NBA with 3.4 blocks per game, and his presence will be missed on the defensive end of the floor.
All-Star center Domantas Sabonis has also been in and out of the lineup the last few weeks as he is dealing with a lower back. Sabonis is averaging 19.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, and he will be taking on a much bigger role now that Turner is out of the lineup.
Playoff Push in Full Swing
Heading into Friday night, there are just 14 games remaining in the regular season for the Pacers. There is plenty of time for Indiana to improve its playoff standings, but there is also time to fall out of the playoff race altogether.
Indiana currently sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 27-31. The Pacers have gone 12-18 at home this season while posting a 13-16 record on the road.
The Pacers remain in second place in the Central Division, but they aren’t going to catch the Milwaukee Bucks. Other divisions have been much more competitive, and the Pacers are in the middle of a crowded bunch in the East.
Indiana trails the Miami Heat by 3.5 games for the number seven seed and is just one game back of the Charlotte Hornets for the number eight seed. The Pacers are currently two games ahead of Washington for the ninth spot, but the Bulls are lurking as well.
As long as the Pacers finish in 10th place or better in the Eastern Conference, they will have a chance to play for the right to make it in the NBA Playoffs.
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