UPDATE: Jan. 22, 5:23 p.m. — Turner will return to the lineup Friday vs. the Orlando Magic despite fracturing his hand. As it reads below, the fracture was only slight, so Turner is able to get back in there after missing a few games. This is a big boost for Indy, which doesn’t really carry a backup center behind Turner on the roster. We should see Doug McDermott go to the bench and Domantas Sabonis shift back to PF.
Indiana Pacers C Myles Turner has a slight fracture in his right hand and will be re-evaluated in the coming days, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Tuesday afternoon. Turner missed Saturday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers due to the injury. As a result, the Pacers had to shift Domantas Sabonis to center and play a smaller lineup featuring Edmond Sumner and Doug McDermott. The Pacers have depth but lack size behind Turner and Sabonis.
If Turner is ruled out for an extended period of time, the Pacers may need to turn to Goga Bitadze in the front court. They won’t be able to get away with McDermott or Sumner playing power forward and Sabonis doesn’t really have the length to guard most NBA centers. There will be teams that this will work against but it won’t be many. The Pacers are also without Caris LeVert, who has a small mass on his kidney that will likely require surgery.
If the Pacers are missing LeVert and Turner for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t bode well for their chances of finishing in the top 4 in the Eastern Conference. Turner was also sporting the fourth-best odds to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year at +800. His stock will likely drop with each missed game. If Turner can get back on the court, he’ll still have a shot to be a finalist, leading the NBA in blocked shots at 4.2 per game.