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Delays continue as Goga Bitadze could be in danger of missing entire preseason

INDIANAPOLIS – As precious time ticks off the clock until Indiana Pacers begin the regular season, rookie Goga Bitadze drifts farther behind.

The 6-11 center did not practice again Tuesday after he injured himself before the team left Oct. 1 to play two games in India. Bitadze wasn't able to practice there, either. 

"He hasn't done any running. Won't do any running probably in the next couple days," coach Nate McMillan said of the first-round pick. "His ankle was a little swollen on the trip and just couldn't do anything."

Goga Bitazde, #88, is photographed during the Indiana Pacers Media Day, held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar

Once the practice session ended, Bitadze did some individual shooting drills.

"This is the most we've seen him do in the last couple of days," McMillan said. 

Bitadze didn't speak because players who are recovering from injuries aren't required to be available unless their recovery lingers.

Bitadze, who missed the Pacers' entire Las Vegas summer league run because of visa issues, won't play in Friday's home exhibition vs. the Chicago Bulls. 

Their final exhibition is Oct. 15 vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it could be difficult for the Pacers to figure out how to get him minutes once the games count starting Oct. 23.

"We're hoping he'll get an opportunity to play in the last (preseason) game," McMillan said. 

T.J. Leaf, who missed the first two preseason games with a right thigh strain, went through a full workout and scrimmage with the team. 

He's expected to see his first action Friday.  

Follow IndyStar Pacers Insider J. Michael on Twitter at @ThisIsJMichael.