Pacers' T.J. Warren Out Indefinitely; Foot Injury Not Healing at Anticipated Rate

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 7, 2021

Indiana Pacers' T.J. Warren (1) goes to the basket as Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) and Daniel Theis (27) trail during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The Indiana Pacers announced Tuesday that forward T.J. Warren is out indefinitely due to a stress fracture in his left foot that cost him all but four games last season.

"Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren’s stress fracture in his left foot is healing during the rehabilitation process; but not at the pace previously anticipated," the statement read.

"He remains out indefinitely, and further updates will be provided as warranted."

Warren led the Pacers in scoring during the 2019-20 season, averaging 19.8 points per game for a team that finished fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

The forward dealt with right foot plantar fasciitis during the 2020-21 preseason but was able to return in time for the regular-season opener. He played the first four games of the season and averaged 15.5 points on 52.9 percent shooting.

However, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Dec. 31, 2020 that Warren would undergo surgery for the aforementioned stress fracture and be out indefinitely. He was ruled out for the remainder of the season March 25.

The Warren announcement is a concerning development for a Pacers team looking to bounce back from a disappointing season that ended with them missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015. They went just 34-38 as injuries took a toll on the roster.

After the season, head coach Nate Bjorkgren was relieved of his duties, and Rick Carlisle has since taken over to begin his second stint as the Pacers' leader.

Carlisle has enjoyed plenty of success over 20 years as a head coach for the Detroit Pistons, Pacers and Dallas Mavericks, but potentially losing Warren is a blow for the Pacers, who open the regular season on Oct. 20 against the Charlotte Hornets.

If Warren misses the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign, look for Justin Holiday to start at small forward. The 32-year-old wing started 52 of 72 games for the Pacers last year, averaging 10.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game.