Caris LeVert will make his long-awaited Indiana Pacers debut on Saturday against the Phoenix Suns, he said after Friday night’s 105-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
LeVert, 26, underwent surgery to remove a small cancerous mass on his left kidney in late January. The issue was discovered during a physical exam conducted after he was traded by the Brooklyn Nets as part of a four-team deal centered around James Harden.
LeVert has been ramping up in recent practices for his return with the Pacers. Saturday marks the second game of a three-game road trip for Indiana.
LeVert said he’s ready to return to action.
“It’s been a while, and I miss the game for sure,” LeVert said. “I always saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew the pain I was feeling after the surgery, that wouldn’t last forever. I knew this day would come where I felt up to playing again. I’ve got a great support system with my family and my teammates. … It’s just going to be a joy to play the game tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be a great night for all of us.”
After a strong start to the season, the Pacers have struggled since trading Victor Oladipo to Houston in the same four-team trade that netted LeVert. Indiana is in desperate need of a third creator behind Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis.
“[LeVert] looks good. To me, he looks ready to play,” Brogdon told The Indianapolis Star on Thursday. “A complete game-changer. He changes the scouting report. Having another dynamic scorer on the floor can really help this team.”
LeVert averaged 18.5 points and six assists in 12 games for Brooklyn before the trade.