Caris LeVert Debuts For Pacers After Getting Cancerous Mass Removed From Kidney

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Caris LeVert played his first basketball game since Jan. 12 on Saturday after having a small cancerous mass removed from his left kidney in late January. The mass was found during a physical exam after LeVert was dealt to the Pacers as part of a four-team blockbuster trade that landed James Harden with the Nets. 

LeVert wasted no time in his return to the hardwood and appeared in the starting lineup agains the Suns. Before his surgery, LeVert was averaging 18.5 points per game with the Nets along with 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in his 12 games played.

On Friday LeVert told reporters that he was ready to return to basketball after what he described as a difficult road back.

"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."

The 26-year-old wing scored his first points back off a free throw shot and wasn't shy from letting it fly throughout the game. 

LeVert shot the ball 14 times in his 27 minutes of action so far and has 13 points with seven boards as the Pacers defeated the Suns 122-111.