Caris LeVert wasn’t exaggerating when he said a routine physical may have saved his life. The Pacers announced LeVert, who was acquired from Brooklyn as part of the James Harden trade earlier this month, underwent successful cancer surgery on Monday. A recent MRI detected a mass on LeVert’s left kidney, which led to doctors diagnosing him with renal cell carcinoma. LeVert is out indefinitely, though he’s expected to make a full recovery. As of now, no further treatment is needed.
“I try to take the positive out of every situation,” the University of Michigan alum told reporters after learning of his condition last week. “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.”
Before his MRI, a requirement of players upon changing teams, LeVert had not experienced any symptoms. The 6’6” wing was off to a strong start before his illness, averaging 18.5 points per game on 43.3-percent shooting including 34.9 percent from downtown. Last year LeVert became only the eighth player in Nets franchise history to score 50 points in a game, netting a career-high 51 in a win over Boston.
LeVert has yet to suit up for his new team, though center Myles Turner has assured him the Pacers are in his corner and will support him every step of the way. “He's going to fit so perfectly whenever that is, but right now we're not really worried about basketball with him,” said Turner via ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “We want him to continue to fight through this.”
LeVert’s surgery was performed by Dr. Jason Sprunger at Community North Hospital in Indianapolis. Here’s wishing the 26-year-old a safe and speedy recovery.