Myles Turner progressing through concussion protocol

Myles Turner is feeling “really good,” 13 days after he sustained a concussion. That was in the season opener, on a hit by Brooklyn’s DeMarre Carroll, and he was not aware until the following day when he complained of neck pain.

After laying low for nearly two weeks, in a dark room and away from screens like his television and phone, Turner returned to the basketball court Monday to begin the return-to-play protocol. That includes riding a stationary bike, jogging, and agility drills while remaining free of symptoms for 24 hours.

“I’ve made a lot of progress,” Turner said Tuesday morning after an optional team shoot around.

“Most headaches are pretty much gone – well, they are gone. Just getting through the protocol right now and getting back in shape.

“You don’t want to go out there and have your symptoms flare up or have anything progressively get worse. I had to wait until [the symptoms] were all gone. The protocol is very meticulous and they take it very seriously, as they should. I’m getting through it.”

Turner did not play Tuesday against Sacramento — he wasn’t needed, they won 101-83 — and is unlikely to return to game action by the end of the week. (But he was on the bench for the first time.) Sunday, at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, is the best possibility. That will be a full 18 days between games.

And whenever he does return, expect for him to try wearing a mouthguard.

“We need Myles,” Lance Stephenson said of his teammate. “He’s got that pick-and-pop, that defensive edge, and rebounding. We need that presence back on the floor.”

Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the director of the NBA’s concussion program, must be consulted before Turner’s cleared.

The third-year center has gone through the first parts of the protocol symptom-free and now is scheduled to go through a full-contact practice and work on his conditioning in the meantime. He’s not in game shape, and will be happy to re-join his teammates on the court.

Here’s what he has left: “Getting back in shape, getting back in game shape, getting some good workouts in. I’ve been doing literally nothing but eating and sleeping for the past 13 days. I got to make sure I get myself back in [game shape], because the way these guys are running, you have to keep up with them.”

The Pacers’ pace (103.80) ranks fifth in the league – up 13 spots from from last season (98.15).

“Man, they’re looking incredible,” he said of this 3-3 group. “We’ve been saying from the jump that we’re a team that can compete and teams will have to worry about. I like the fact that we got off to somewhat of a good start, but we still have a lot to build on and I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Turner, who missed significant time with a thumb injury during his rookie season, says this is his first concussion.

“It’s boring. I couldn’t really watch the first couple of games. I had to be in my room; I couldn’t be on my phone. It was tough, but I got through it.”

So in the meantime, Turner went back to one of his favorite pastimes as a kid in Bedford, Texas (and for many kids elsewhere): Legos.

“That was the only thing I could really do. When I was a kid, I used to like to put stuff together, puzzles and stuff like that, so I went back to the basics a little bit,” he said with a big grin.

After all, just 21, he’s still a kid at heart.

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