Indiana Pacers small forward Danny Granger will reportedly make his season debut tonight against the Detroit Pistons.
Granger has been out of action for the past three months after receiving an injection to treat left patellar tendinosis, or “jumper’s knee”, just a day before the team’s opening game against the Toronto Raptors.
The Pacers have gone 34-21 in his absence, which is good enough for first place in the Central Division and second overall in the Eastern Conference (5.5 games back of the Miami Heat).
Granger led Indiana in scoring in 2011-12, averaging 18.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists a game.
Paul George has stepped up admirably with Granger on the sidelines. He was chosen as a reserve for his very first NBA All-Star game this year, averaging 17.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
Despite the Indiana Pacers early success, putting points on the board has still been a major area of concern. Their defense is stronger than ever, as the Pacers hold opponents to just 89.8 points a game, which is best in the NBA. However, the team ranks just 24th in the league in points scored(93.7), which is something Granger could currently provide some assistance in.
He’s expected to come off the bench for the foreseeable future, and that’s the absolute best way to handle these delicate circumstances. Even though he’s been the number one option on offense for the past several years, things have changed.
The last thing this team needs is for the return of Granger to disrupt what they currently have going for them.
His role will be smaller as he slowly accumulates himself back into game shape. It’s going to take some time. As talented as he is, being away from the game as long as he has, there will an adjustment period.
Indiana doesn’t need Granger to be a 20 points a night scorer right off the bat. If he can provide some instant offense in lesser minutes for the second-unit until coach Frank Vogel believes he’s ready for a larger role, then the Pacers will be all the better because of it.
While the Pacers could use Danny Granger, they don’t desperately need him, which is a good thing…..for now.