INDIANAPOLIS — T.J. McConnell stayed on the court after the Pacers’ practice on Monday to work on his shooting. He practiced his mid-range jumper from about 10 feet out against a team member.
He was dressed in practice gear, and it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll play in a game this season, as he had hoped.
McConnell’s status was upgraded to questionable after he did “a little bit” at practice, according to head coach Rick Carlisle, ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Bainbridge Fieldhouse.
McConnell turned 30 this week, but he hasn’t appeared in a game since December 1 against the Atlanta Hawks. He left after only a few minutes and hasn’t worn a Pacers jersey since — except the team photo.
On Dec. 7, McConnell had surgery on his right wrist to repair a damaged ligament. Dr. Michelle Carlson of the Hospital for Special Procedure in New York City performed the surgery.
Since McConnell’s last game, the Pacers have made three trade deadline moves, one of which was based on obtaining Tyrese Haliburton, a 22-year-old point guard.
The Pacers’ regular-season home finale is Tuesday. It’s also against McConnell’s previous team, the 76ers. Then they’ll play them again in Philadelphia on Saturday (1:00 p.m. ET).
He remains tight with several 76ers players, including MVP candidate Joel Embiid. McConnell was undrafted in 2015, earned a roster spot, and stayed with the organization for four seasons. They decided not to bring him back in 2019, thus he signed with the Pacers in free agency, which he described as “stressful.”
With three games remaining, the Pacers are 25-54 and have already been eliminated from the playoffs. For the second season in a row, they’ll be in the selection lottery.
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They’ve dropped seven straight games and are expected to be selected in the top five, their first time in the top ten since 1989.
T.J. Warren, Myles Turner, Chris Duarte, and Ricky Rubio have all been ruled out for the rest of the season by the Pacers.