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Pacers sign Aaron Brooks

Pacers sign Aaron Brooks

The Pacers have signed veteran free agent point guard Aaron Brooks to a contract.

With Jeff Teague and Monta Ellis as the likely starters in the Pacers’ backcourt, and Rodney Stuckey usually getting big minutes off the bench, Brooks’ role will likely be minimal.

The 6-foot, 161-pound Brooks is an eight-year NBA veteran who has played with Houston, Phoenix, Sacramento, Denver and Chicago. He was a first-round pick (26th overall) of the Rockets in 2007 after playing collegiately at Oregon. Over his NBA career, he has averaged 10.7 points and 3.2 assists with his best season in 2009-10 when he averaged 19.6 points and 5.3 assists with Houston. In 2010, he was the NBA’s Most Improved Player.

“Aaron is a proven point guard in the NBA,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He can create and shoot the three. He’s another scorer for our second unit who plays at a high level at both ends of the court.”

Pacers sign Al Jefferson

Pacers sign Al Jefferson

The Indiana Pacers have signed veteran free agent center Al Jefferson to a multi-year contract.

Jefferson’s deal is reportedly a $30 million dollar contract over three years.

This will be an interesting fit, as the Pacers were looking to play more up-tempo basketball, while Jefferson is best when the offense gets slowed down and he’s able to operate in the post.

The 6-10, 289-pound Jefferson spent the last three seasons of his 12-year NBA career with Charlotte. Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2004 (first round, 15th overall) out of Prentiss (Mississippi) High School, Jefferson was with Boston three seasons before being traded to Minnesota. He spent three years there before being traded to Utah, where he played for three seasons. He then signed as a free agent with Charlotte in 2013.

“We want to welcome Al to the Indiana Pacers,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “Al is a good, solid, veteran player. We know what he brings to our team, scoring, rebounding and he’s a handful down in the post. Not only do we think he’ll help us a lot on the court, we think he will be a good mentor for Myles Turner. He’s a proven player in this league and we are very confident he will help us in many ways.”

Jefferson has career averages of 16.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He averaged a career best of 23.1 in points in 2008-09 and a career best 11.1 rebounds in 2007-08. In 2014, he was a third team All-NBA selection.

Mavericks trade Jeremy Evans to Pacers

Mavericks trade Jeremy Evans to Pacers

The Dallas Mavericks have acquired the rights to center Stanko Barać from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for forward Jeremy Evans, the rights to guard-forward Emir Preldžić and cash considerations.

The 28-year-old Evans is a six-year veteran who was with Utah his first five seasons and the Mavericks last season. He has career averages of 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds and was the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk champion. The 6-9, 200-pound Evans played collegiately at Western Kentucky and was the 55th overall pick (second round) by Utah in the 2007 NBA Draft.
“Jeremy is big and athletic,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “We’re anxious to get him here to put him through our strength and conditioning program. We know he’ll be a good fit with the players we have.”

Evans (6-9, 200) was signed as a free agent by Dallas on July 31, 2015.

Barać (7-1, 280) is a Croatian center who last played for Pallacanestro Olimpia Milano (Italy), averaging 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17 games. He helped Olimpia win the Italian Cup in 2016. Barać has also played professionally in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Turkey and Croatia.

Preldžić (6-9, 220) last played for Darüşşafaka Spor Kulübü (Turkey) and averaged 6.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 31 games.

jeff teague

The Atlanta Hawks have acquired the draft rights to Taurean Prince, the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, from the Utah Jazz as part of a three-team trade, it was announced today by General Manager Wes Wilcox. As part of the deal, the Hawks will send guard Jeff Teague to Indiana and the Jazz will receive guard George Hill from the Pacers.

“Taurean has many of the qualities that we value in our program…we are excited to add his competitiveness, toughness, versatility, and desire to improve,” Wilcox said. “We would also like to thank Coach Scott Drew and Baylor Basketball for their help throughout the scouting process. Taurean is eager to get started and we look forward to beginning his development with our coaches and athletic performance team.”

“I would like to thank Jeff for his seven years with the organization, and our three years together,” said Hawks President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. “Jeff developed into a key contributor and played an integral role in the team’s recent success. We wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”

Prince, a four-year letterman at Baylor, averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 34 games as a senior while garnering First Team All-Big 12 honors. The 6’8 forward was also named Second Team All-Big 12 as junior as well as the league’s Sixth Man of the Year after recording 13.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists in 33 contests. Prince owns career averages of 10.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting .460 from the field, .376 from three-point range and .718 from the free throw line in 129 games.

Teague, an Indianapolis native, comes to the Pacers from the Atlanta Hawks as part of a three-way trade. The Pacers send guard George Hill to Utah and the Jazz send the 12th overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, Baylor’s Taurean Prince, to Atlanta. Young was acquired from Brooklyn in exchange for the Pacers’ first-round pick (20th overall) in the June draft, Michigan’s Caris LeVert.

“We want to thank George for his five seasons with us,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He’s a great guy who did a lot for the community. We wish him nothing but the best. With Jeff, we think he brings something we haven’t had in a true point guard. We think he fits in with what we’re trying to do. He has speed, the ability to create for others and he can score. We look forward to working with him.

“Thaddeus is a long, athletic power forward who can defend multiple positions. He was a 15-point scorer last year and averaged nine rebounds a game. We think he’s a good fit between Myles (Turner) and Paul (George).”

Teague, 28, grew up in Indianapolis (Pike High School), played collegiately at Wake Forest and was a first-round pick (19th overall) of the Hawks in 2009. In seven seasons with Atlanta, Teague averaged 12.0 points and 5.0 assists. Last season, he averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 assists per game. In 2015, he was named to the NBA All-Star team.

Hill (6-3, 188, IUPUI) appeared in 74 games (73 starts) for the Pacers this season, averaging 12.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting a career-high .408 (128-314) from three-point range in 34.1 minutes of action. Hill’s seventh-seeded Pacers then pushed second-seed Toronto to seven games as he averaged 13.6 points on .481 (13-27) three-point shooting.

Originally selected in the first round (26th overall selection) of the 2008 NBA Draft by San Antonio, the 30-year-old guard has appeared in 550 career games (325 starts) over eight seasons with San Antonio and Indiana, and owns career averages of 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists and .376 three-point shooting in 28.8 minutes. His teams have made the playoffs in seven of his eight seasons and he has appeared in a total of 75 playoffs games (64 starts) averaging 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and a .371 three-point percentage. Hill helped the Indiana Pacers to two straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 2013 and 2014.

Prior to the NBA, the Indianapolis native played four seasons at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (2004-08) where he was named The Summit League Player of the Year (2008) and All-Summit League First Team twice (2006, 2008). For his collegiate career, Hill appeared in 94 games and averaged 17.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 33.4 minutes.

He will wear uniform #3 for the Jazz.

Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers

Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired the draft rights to Caris LeVert, the 20th pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft, along with a future second round pick, from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for forward Thaddeus Young.

LeVert (6’7”, 205) played four seasons at Michigan and helped the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the National Championship game in 2013 and the Elite Eight in 2014. In 103 career games (70 starts) for the Wolverines, LeVert averaged 10.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 26.4 minutes per game. As a senior, the Columbus, Ohio, native posted averages of 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 30.9 minutes per game while shooting .506 from the field and .446 from 3-point range in 15 games (14 starts) during an injury-shortened season. He earned 2014 All-Big Ten second-team and 2014 NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament team honors following his sophomore season, when he averaged 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 34.0 minutes per game in 37 games.

Young played in 101 games (93 starts) with the Nets after joining the team via trade from Minnesota on February 19, 2015, averaging 14.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals in 32.0 minutes per game. A nine-year NBA veteran, Young has appeared in 665 career games with Philadelphia, Minnesota and Brooklyn, holding averages of 13.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals in 30.6 minutes per game.

Report: Nets trading Thaddeus Young to Pacers

The Nets finished last season with a 21-61 record, the third worst in the league, ahead of only the Lakers and Sixers. A Brooklyn rebuild is clearly in order, which is difficult when a team has traded lots of first round draft picks away. But they have reportedly taken a step in the rebuild direction today, as reported by Woj/Yahoo Sports:

Brooklyn has traded forward Thad Young to the Indiana Pacers for the 20th pick and a future 2nd rounder, league sources tell @TheVertical.

Young, a power forward, averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last season and now gets to play alongside star Paul George.

Both the Nets and Pacers could make more moves soon. It’ll be interesting to see if the Nets deal center Brook Lopez, who is their best-remaining commodity.

Report: Hawks trading Jeff Teague to Pacers

The Hawks have one point guard too many, and were expected to trade one this offseason. This is now materializing, with Jeff Teague reportedly being sent to the Pacers. Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting:

The Indiana Pacers have acquired Jeff Teague from the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team trade than sends George Hill to the Utah Jazz, the IndyStar has confirmed.

The rest of the deal has the Jazz sending their No. 12 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft to Atlanta, according to Yahoo reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported the trade.

And the Deseret News reports:

The move will give the Jazz a steadying influence at point guard while Dante Exum reacclimates himself to the NBA game after missing all of last season because of a torn ACL.

Nate McMillan is new Pacers head coach

Nate McMillan is new Pacers head coach

The Indiana Pacers announced Monday they have named Nate McMillan as their head coach.

McMillan has spent the last three seasons as Associate Head Coach for the Pacers under Frank Vogel.

“I truly believe Nate is the right coach for us at this time,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “When I heard he was interested, I got in touch with him, met with him and in our conversation I came away with all the confidence in the world in Nate to lead our franchise to where we want to go. His experience as a player, head coach and assistant coach in the NBA are valuable assets for us.”

“I want to thank Larry, Herb Simon and the Pacers for this opportunity, which is a great opportunity,” said McMillan. “I’ve been around this franchise three years and understand what the expectations are and look forward to working hard to try to meet them. We have a good team and good base to build from. I’m very anxious to get started.”

The 51-year-old (8/3/64) McMillan has a vast basketball background as a player and a coach. After playing collegiately at North Carolina State, McMillan was drafted by Seattle (30th overall) in the 1986 NBA Draft. He played his entire 12-year career with the Sonics and had his number (10) retired. He is second in franchise history in assists and steals and ranks in the top 10 in eight other categories. He was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team twice (1994 and ’95) and led the league in steals in the 94-95 season with 2.96 per game.

After his playing days, McMillan was a Seattle assistant coach for two years and became the interim coach in 2000. He remained the Sonics’ coach until 2005 and then became Portland’s head coach until he was let go in March, 2012. In 2008-09, he led the Trail Blazers to a 54-28 record, the sixth-best record in franchise history. McMillan compiled a 478-452 (.514) record as a head coach for both teams. He also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Team where he won gold medals in the 2006 FIBA World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. McMillan was also inducted into the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 after playing at Chowan College before transferring to North Carolina State.

Pacers will not retain Frank Vogel as head coach

Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird announced Thursday that Frank Vogel will not return as head coach of the Pacers. According to the Indianapolis Star, Vogel was at the end of his contract.

“I want to thank Frank for his time in Indiana,” said Bird. “We know he’ll be successful down the road and end up getting a job, but for us, I just feel it’s time to move in a different direction.”

Vogel stepped in as interim coach, Jan. 30, 2011, replacing Jim O’Brien, and was named head coach July 6, 2011. In five-plus seasons, Vogel compiled a 250-181 record, five NBA Playoff appearances, two Central Division championships and two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The search for a new coach will begin immediately.

According to the Indianapolis Star, “Vogel, 42, began his career as the ladder-climbing video coordinator who would do anything to get his foot into the prestigious door of big-time basketball. He climbed all the way to the head of the Pacers’ bench, where he held the position for five full seasons after replacing Jim O’Brien during the 2010-11 season. The Pacers made five postseason appearances under Vogel and developed a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.”

More from the Star: “However, the Pacers were 31-30 in the playoffs and never averaged more than 97.6 points per game during a postseason run, which includes this season when the Pacers (45-37) finished seventh in the Eastern Conference. On April 18 in Game 5, the Pacers spoiled an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the first-round series with the Toronto Raptors by squandering a 13-point advantage in the fourth quarter. Though the Pacers evened the series the next game, they lost to the Raptors in Game 7 on the road.”

The Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Vogel led the Pacers to the best record in the Eastern Conference at 6-1. The Pacers won their final three games and held off the Detroit Pistons for the seventh seed in the East playoffs. Indiana averaged 108 points per game and shot a conference-best 49.3 percent from the field in April. Four of the Pacers’ six wins came by double digits, and their +8.6 scoring differential led the conference.

Rivers guided the Clippers, the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, to a 6-1 record, tops in the West. The Clippers surrendered 100 or more points just twice in seven games and held opponents to an average of 94.1 points on a league-low 40.6 percent shooting from the field. L.A. posted back-to-back home wins over two West playoff teams, the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies, on April 10 and 12, rounding out a 4-0 month at Staples Center.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, Dallas’ Rick Carlisle, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Portland’s Terry Stotts and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

Pacers sign Ty Lawson

Pacers sign Ty Lawson

The Indiana Pacers have signed point guard Ty Lawson.

Lawson, 5-11, 195-pounds is in his seventh year in the league. He played his first six seasons with the Nuggets before the Rockets acquired him last summer. He averaged 5.8 points per game and 3.4 assists with Houston in 53 games this season before they waived him last week.

According to the Indianapolis Star, “Lawson was not shy about why he picked the Pacers over four other teams that were pursuing him after he agreed last week to a buyout from the Houston Rockets. “This is the place for me,” he said with a smile. “I feel like I’ll actually get enough time to be able to play my game, so I’m just excited. We have a chance to win. The East is wide open from, like, the third seed to the 12th seed. I guess everybody is jumbled together. We definitely can make a lot of noise if we go on a seven- or eight-game win streak.”

During his career, Lawson is averaging 13.3 points and 5.8 assists per game. Lawson, who played collegiately at North Carolina, was a first-round pick (18th overall) in the 2009 NBA Draft.

“We’re glad to have Ty come play with the Pacers for this final run of the season,” said Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “We think he brings added speed to our backcourt, he can get up and down the floor and he helps strengthen our second unit.”

“This is a good opportunity for me to come here, try to help the Pacers win and get into the playoffs,” said Lawson. “I’m just ready to play and do whatever is needed.”

Pacers waive Chase Budinger

Pacers waive Chase Budinger

The Indiana Pacers announced they have requested waivers on 6-7 forward Chase Budinger.

Acquired from Minnesota in a trade last July, Budinger played in 49 games (starting two), averaging 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

The Pacers are 32-30 this season, and being led by Paul George (23.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 4.2 apg), Monta Ellis (14.3 ppg, 4.7 apg), George Hill, C.J. Miles, and Myles Turner.

Pacers hope to host an All-Star weekend

Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting that the Pacers are making a push to host a future All-Star weekend:

Pacers hope to host an All-Star weekend

One of the NBA’s most prized and glitzy events, the All-Star Game, is being held in Toronto for the first time this weekend. Among the abundance of celebrities, crazy basketball fanatics and the sport’s best players is a seven-person delegation from Indianapolis. Their mission, which began two months ago, is to bring the NBA’s midseason classic back to Indiana.

The Indiana Pacers, led by Rick Fuson, its chief operation officer, want the All-Star Game.

Fuson, along with other representatives from the Pacers, the Indiana Sports Corp and Visit Indy, wanted to see the festivities associated with the All-Star Game in person to examine why Toronto was selected and how Indianapolis can become a viable hosting option for the NBA. After Sunday’s game, Fuson and the rest of the group – including Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp, and Leonard Hoops, president and CEO of Visit Indy – will discuss what they believe would make for a successful bid.

A league official confirmed Saturday that the Indianapolis delegation is in Toronto to observe how Toronto is operating the many events with the NBA. The official also said the 2019 All-Star Game is the earliest year the Pacers could make a bid. Fuson said it’s unclear if the Pacers will bid for 2019 or for a subsequent year. What is clear is that several people with knowledge of the Pacers’ trip this weekend believe the team will submit its bid in the next few months.

The Indiana Pacers (21-15) are led by Pau George’s 24.3 ppg this season, but another key reason for their success is the play of C.J. Miles, who in 26.8 minutes per game is putting up 13.9 ppg and doing more than his stats suggest. Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting:

C.J. Miles having good season for Pacers

All NBA teams could use someone like Miles. More than a “glue guy,” a term tossed around to describe a significant yet sometimes skillfully challenged player who does the little things to help a team be successful. Miles has the talent to hit 8-of-9 3-point attempts and score 32 points (see: Nov. 24, Washington) but also the selflessness to accept any task thrown at him.

“He’s a team-first guy and willing to do whatever the team needs to win,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “He just smiles and says whatever you need me to do and says I’ll figure it out when I’m out there, whether it’s (playing the) 4, 3, 2, off the bench, starting.

“Every coach needs guys like that.”

Miles willingly morphs into a basketball shapeshifter because he’s done so all this life.

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who paid a personal visit to a former player who is dealing with serious health issues:

Brad Stevens back after visiting Andrew Smith

Celtics coach Brad Stevens rejoined the team before its flight to Memphis on Saturday and led an afternoon practice at the University of Memphis.

Stevens traveled to Indiana on Thursday to visit with Andrew Smith, one of his former Butler players, who is battling cancer. Stevens missed the team’s loss to the Bulls.

Stevens told reporters in Memphis that the past few days have been, “Very challenging, certainly puts things in a lot of perspective.”

Paul George fined $35,000 by NBA

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has been fined $35,000 for public criticism of officiating and using profanity in a live television interview, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

George made his comments following the Pacers’ 104-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 18 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants forward Rakeem Christmas, playing on assignment from the Indiana Pacers, was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Nov. 30 – Sunday, Dec. 6.

Christmas (6-9, 239, Syracuse) led Fort Wayne to a 3-0 week behind averages 24.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. On Dec. 2, Christmas recorded a double-double with 25 points and 13 rebounds as part of a 98-97 victory to hand the Westchester Knicks their first loss of the season. He followed that up with a five-block effort in a 98-94 win over the Canton Charge on Dec. 4. On Dec. 6, he scored a career-high 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists in a 105-92 victory over the Grand Rapids Drive.

For the season, Christmas is averaging 19.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks (seventh in the D-League).

Christmas was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 36th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, before his rights were traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers on draft night. His rights were again traded to the Indiana Pacers on July 23, 2015. His assignment with Fort Wayne commenced on Nov. 2.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Boban Marjanovic, Bakersfield’s Terrico White Iowa’s Joel Wright, Sioux Falls’ Greg Whittington, Texas’ Tu Holloway and Westchester’s Jimmer Fredette.

paul george

The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 29.

George led the Pacers to a 3-0 week behind an Eastern Conference-leading 37.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals. He shot 54.7 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range and 86.7 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 24, George tallied 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting, including 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, during a 123-106 win over the Washington Wizards.

kevin durant

Durant led the Thunder to a 3-0 week behind averages of 30.3 points (second in the Western Conference), 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 blocks (fourth in the Western Conference). He shot 58.5 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from three-point range and 94.4 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 27, Durant recorded 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks during a 103-87 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, Philadelphia’s Robert Covington, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting on the not-so-existent relationship between Lakers center Roy Hibbert and his former team, the Indiana Pacers:

Roy Hibbert has not kept in touch with the Pacers

Roy Hibbert’s past and present will collide on Sunday when the Lakers host the Pacers. He maintained he has “great memories” of his seven-year NBA career in Indiana. But his last season ended on a sour note amid a reduced role to accommodate a quicker and smaller lineup. The Pacers then traded Hibbert to the Lakers last summer for a second-round draft pick.

“I’m going to feel something,” said Hibbert, who will become a free agent next summer after making $15.5 million this season. “But I have to move on and try to get a win.”

Hibbert insisted he has no hard feelings, but admitted he has not kept in touch with anyone associated with the Pacers.

“I haven’t talked to them in a while,” Hibbert said. “I haven’t watched any of their games. No offense, but I don’t think many of them are on TV.”

Myles Turner out six weeks after thumb surgery

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner underwent successful surgery Monday afternoon to repair a chip fracture in his left thumb, sustained during the first half of last Wednesday night’s game at Boston.

The surgery was performed at OrthoIndy Hospital by hand surgeon Dr. Tim Dicke. Turner is expected to miss six weeks.

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