Myles Turner relieved after spraining ankle three times in one game

The Pacers will wrap up what the team agreed is the most difficult week of their schedule Saturday in Washington DC. It’s a stretch with four games against four Eastern Conference playoffs teams, and they might have to complete the final game without their starting and backup centers.

Domantas Sabonis left’s ankle took a hit on Tuesday when Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid landed on it. He did not return and is expected to miss several more games. Then, two days later, starter Myles Turner sprained his right ankle not once … not twice … but three times in a home loss to Toronto.

“It hurt, but I wanted to try to tough it out,” Turner said Friday after the team held practice. “I think I stepped on C.J. [Miles]’s foot again. To sprain it three times in one game … it sucks.”

Each time, Turner, who had two points and a block in 20 minutes in a game where the Pacers were outrebounded by 23, went back to the locker room to have the ankle checked out and re-taped.

[VIDEO: Lance Stephenson talks Toronto loss, managing without Sabonis]

Then, after the game Thursday night, he got X-rays, which turned up negative. He was relieved the following morning when the swelling had gone down enough for him to lift weights and shoot without favoring the ankle. Turner, however, did not practice with the team.

Myles Turner, Pacers

Myles Turner did not practice but was encouraged after spraining his ankle.

“He came in this morning walking on it and moving on it a little bit,” coach Nate McMillan said Friday. “He didn’t do anything in practice but we were encouraged by what we saw.”

The Pacers (40-29) currently are third in the East with a very difficult schedule remaining. 13 games left, including two against Golden State and one more against Toronto. McMillan will have to proceed with caution and with both bigs battling ankle injuries, he may need to choose health over short-term gain. They have three games next week, two at home against the Los Angeles teams plus that make up game in New Orleans.

And, throughout March, they play at least every other day.

“I’ll listen to the trainers and we certainly have to listen to Myles’ body,” McMillan said. “We don’t want him to come out there and aggravate and then he’s out for a couple weeks. If he’s ready to go, we’ll put him out there. But if not, then we’ll let that thing heal and some other guys will have to step in.”

Turner, though, said he would good to go if this was a playoff game.

“Ah, yeah, 100 perecent. No question. In my head, I want to play tomorrow. Given the circumstances, given  the way the season is lining right now, you got to do what’s best for my body and what’s best for the team.”

The Pacers will hold a morning shootaround Saturday, specifically to go through sets with Al Jefferson and Trevor Booker being in the rotation. “And I think we need to shoot,” coach added.

The Wizards, at 39-30, are just a game out of third. They’ve lost five of their last eight, but edged out an undermanned Boston Celtics team in overtime Wednesday night. They’re doing it without John Wall, who is recovering from left knee surgery.

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