Injuries Continue to Play a Role in the Indiana Pacers’ Season

Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers have held strong in a first half defined by injuries. If they want to make a playoff run, they will need their key guys to get to the end healthy.

Monday night’s game held a much too familiar situation: the Indiana Pacers missing a starter due to injury. Luckily this time around, no other rotation player joined Malcolm Brogdon on the report. The Pacers were able to walk out with a win against the young Charlotte Hornets largely due to a huge game from T.J. Warren.

It seems quite appropriate that the player that dominated the game is also the only player that has been staying healthy this season. From a Pacers’ perspective, Warren’s health has been an anomaly. He has started and totaled at least 22 minutes in every game this season. He has had off nights scoring-wise, but those off nights still include him being on the court.

The same cannot be said for the rest of the roster, let alone the starters.

Domantas Sabonis has sat out only two games so far this season, but every other starter has missed at least eight of the first 37 games. Then once you factor in that All-Star Victor Oladipo will touch likely make his season debut sometime around the end of this month, it’s quite amazing the Pacers have been this successful.

Indiana’s biggest off-season move was the sign-and-trade that brought Brogdon to the Indy. The initial reaction was he appeared to be a good fit, but many were unsure he could handle the expanded role. To this point, the former Buck has shown he is more than capable. The main reason for concern is something that dates back to those Milwaukee days.

Brogdon has already missed 10 games this season and his current back injury has forced him to miss six of the last seven. Spending time on the injury report seems to be something that just comes with the territory. The Pacers just aren’t the same team when he isn’t out there. They hold a 5-5 record in those outings.

He missed the last 20 regular season games plus the first round and a half of the playoffs last season with a torn plantar fascia. His health was a major question mark leading to how high the Bucks’ ceiling was going to be. If you go back one more season, he missed 32 of the last 37 regular season games.

There is so much optimism about how good the Pacers could be once Oladipo returns to form. Brogdon’s health could actually be what decides Indiana’s fate. His play while healthy has put him in line for his first All-Star appearance and consideration as a Top-25 player in the league. He just needs to stay on the floor.

There’s little point in being a first half All-Star if it means you have to spend the second half in street clothes. Players and teams write their legacies in the playoffs. Nobody wants to have those pressure-packed moments to be defined by injury.

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There is still a long way to go before we get to those moments take place. The Pacers need to make sure everyone gets there.