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Caris LeVert expected to make full recovery after kidney surgery

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Caris LeVert is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery to treat renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney Monday, the Pacers announced Tuesday. Renal cell carcinoma is a form of kidney cancer and surgery normally involves the removal of the cancerous growth.

Previously, the Pacers had only said its medical staff had discovered a small mass on the 26-year-old kidney during a routine physical required as part of the four-team trade earlier in the month. That trade sent LeVert to the Pacers, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cavaliers, Rodions Kurucs, Dante Exum, Victor Oladipo and a raft of draft picks to the Rockets and James Harden to the Nets.

The Pacers said that LeVert, who is out indefinitely, will not require any further treatment. The surgery was performed by Dr. Jason Sprunger at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis. Here’s the full statement...

Caris LeVert underwent successful surgery on Monday to treat renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney. The surgery was performed by Dr. Jason Sprunger at Community North Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind. No further treatment is needed. Caris is expected to make a full recovery and will be out indefinitely. Further updates will be provided as needed.

“We acquired Caris because of who he is as a young man first and foremost,” said Pacers president Kevin Pritchard. “His basketball skill and on court play speaks for itself and we know he has a great career ahead of him. We will support Caris through this time and know that he will join us on the court as soon as he is able.”

Renal cell carcinoma is mostly found in older men, particularly those who smoke or are obese. Such cancers often doesn’t display symptoms until the disease is advanced. Normally, a part of the patient’s kidney is removed during surgery. In advanced cases, an entire kidney may be removed.

NBA players only get full physicals at the beginning of each season. So without the trade physical, the mass might not have been found until next fall.

Virginia Zakas of Inside Injuries told The Athletic...

“This is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults but is often found in adults over 50. It is very treatable when caught early. LeVert is not expected to need any further treatment, a positive sign that this was caught in an early stage (1 or 2) and didn’t spread outside of the kidney. More advanced stages can require treatment such as radiation...

“For now, he is out indefinitely, but I expect him to miss a minimum of two months while his body heals. It is possible he returns late this season, although a more realistic target is the start of next season.”

The Nets reportedly redirected a second-round draft pick in 2024 and $2.6 million in cash to the Pacers to complete the deal after the growth was found.