Caris LeVert says trade to Indiana may have ‘saved’ him after MRI reveals kidney mass


After being dealt to Indiana as part of a four-team blockbuster that sent James Harden to Brooklyn last week, Caris LeVert underwent a precautionary MRI, standard procedure for a player joining a new team. Tests revealed a small mass on LeVert’s left kidney and though it’s yet to be determined whether the growth is cancerous, it will keep the 26-year-old out indefinitely. Had he not been traded, LeVert’s concerning kidney condition likely would have gone undiagnosed.

“I hadn't missed any games this season yet. I was feeling 100 percent healthy," LeVert shared with ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “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."

Health issues run in LeVert’s family. His father died from heart failure at 46 while his mother battles multiple sclerosis. “To me, the most important thing is to get my body healthy and make sure I live a long life," said LeVert, who has averaged 18.5 points per game in 12 appearances including four starts this season. “I'm a competitor; I love to play the game. But for me, I think making sure I'm good health-wise is most important.”

LeVert isn’t sure of his timeline, though he appeared to be in good spirits while attending Tuesday’s practice. “For me, I try to take the positive out of every situation,” said the 6’6” wing. “I have a lot of faith in God. I know that everything is not perfect, but I feel like, in life, it's just how you react to certain things. It's not what happens to you.” When healthy, LeVert will join a stacked Pacers lineup featuring All-Star Domantas Sabonis, former Rookie of the Year recipient Malcolm Brogdon, NBA blocks leader Myles Turner and T.J. Warren.

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