WHEN MYLES TURNER was told he would miss two to three weeks after suffering an avulsion fracture in his right hand on Jan. 14, he had one reaction.
"No way," the Indiana Pacers big man told his first-year coach Nate Bjorkgren.
The Pacers' next scheduled game, against the Phoenix Suns, was postponed, giving Turner time to meet with two hand specialists -- one based in Los Angeles and another with the organization -- who both told him it wouldn't require surgery but would be extremely painful to compete. That was all Turner needed to hear.
He showed up to Indiana's practice facility just five days after getting hurt, sporting a protective pad on his hand and insisting he was ready to go.
"He could've very easily just sat on this and said, 'I'm gonna sit out here the two or three weeks.' No way, he wasn't having anything to do with that," Bjorkgren said. "He knows his importance to this team and also he knows just how active he can create our defense and what he means to protecting the rim for us."
Turner takes his job as the Pacers' defensive centerpiece too seriously to miss extended time, especially right now when he's in the midst of his best season as a pro. The six-year veteran changed his entire approach this offseason, both physically and mentally.