Myles Turner not yet symptom-free, still several days away from a return

Myles Turner has hung around the team despite being sidelined with a concussion and still suffering through the symptoms.

The Pacers’ starting center joined them on their most recent three-game road trip that stopped in Miami, Minneapolis, and Oklahoma City. He has not returned to the basketball court and has watched the games at the team hotel.

“Nothing has changed,” head coach Nate McMillan said Friday after practice at the St. Vincent Center. “He’s started to feel better. But he hasn’t been released to go to step two.”

Turner took a hit from Brooklyn’s DeMarre Carroll in the season opener, back on Oct. 18. He was fine after the game, dressing to the nines to impress his mother who was in town. He put on a button-down shirt with a bowtie, completed his responsibilities with the media, and then left.

Turner had 21 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks in his only game played this season. (He played in 81 of 82 regular-season games last season.)

[Click here to see the return-to-play protocol he must clear]

It was only after he complained of neck pain that team trainers found that he sustained a concussion and would miss time.

“He was complaining about his neck [the following day],” McMillan continued. “They were treating him for his neck and they wouldn’t allow him to do anything. That day [after the season opener] he shot [around] and he was talking about his neck. They treated him for his neck and once they ran tests on him [that they diagnosed him with a concussion].”

Turner was at the Pacers’ practice facility on Friday but did not stay around for practice under the bright lights and with squeaky sounds.

“They want to get him out of his room and out of his house,” said McMillan. “At one point, lights were bothering him. The ball, the noise was bothering him. He’s basically working with the trainers and the doctors.”

The question fans want answered from me is how concerning is it that Turner, after more than a week, has not even begun the return-to-play protocol. So I asked coach.

“I think anytime you talk about a concussion it’s a concern, and there’s not a timeframe with that. He’s still in the protocol, the testing phase of it.

“It’s when you feel better today, where you can take the next step and maybe get on the bike. Then we see how you feel after that for 24 hours. And then you have to go through a practice and see how you feel after that for 24 hours. And if you start to feel anything, you go back [to the beginning]. That’s where we are.

“It’s just when he starts to feel better and he passes these tests. That’s like a three, four day process. You can’t do all of that in one day.”

That said, it’s highly unlikely that Turner is back for Sunday’s afternoon tilt agains the San Antonio Spurs, who will be motivated after getting suffering their first loss of the season Friday night, 114-87, to the 4-1 Orlando Magic.

The Pacers (2-3) will practice on Monday, host George Hill and Sacramento on Tuesday, then play in Cleveland on Wednesday. All told, the Pacers have four games over a six-day stretch — Sunday through Friday. And the Pacers, whose defensive ranking is 29th after a week of games, needs Turner back for his rim protection and other contributions.

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