Indiana Pacers: Guess who’s back…again…for reals this time

April 03, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Danny Granger (33) and shooting guard Paul George (24) celebrate during the game against the New York Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated New York 112-104. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

At least, that’s what the Indiana Pacers are telling us.

We have finally arrived at Friday, and the Pacers are still serious about Danny Granger’s return. We’ll take them at their word. After Thursday’s light practice, Pacers coach Frank Vogel confirmed that Granger would be making his regular season debut tonight against the Houston Rockets.

It also happens to be a nationally televised game, so it works out great for everyone.

[Pacers.com]

Pacers coach Frank Vogel confirmed on Thursday after a light practice that Granger, who’s been sidelined with a strained left calf since Oct. 18, will make his season debut against the Houston Rockets Friday night. Though he is has no medical restriction, they’ll keep him to 15-20 minutes to start out.

“There’s no way to simulate the game intensity, game adrenaline so I’m sure that’ll feel differently for him and there’s going to be an adjustment period while he gets used to that again,” Vogel said. …

After practice, which followed a 97-94 loss in Miami, Vogel had some reserves run through plays with Granger at both wing positions for about 30 minutes. Most of the plays ended with the ball in Granger’s hand for a shot.

Granger will play the backup wing spot, taking the 17 or so minutes per game being allotted to Rasual Butler in the previous three games.

The Pacers have been in a little bit of a slump lately, losing three out of their last five games. Maybe Granger’s return will ignite them a bit and get them back on track. It also should be interesting to see how he’s used.

FROM EARLIER STORY

Technically, Granger has been ready to play for a while now and has been going through practice pretty regularly. The reason for the delay was to make sure that he would be entirely ready for a return – the depth of the Pacers’ roster gives them that luxury.

Still, not many know where Granger will fit with the team – not even the Pacers. I assume they’ll give him a shot at a sixth man role, to get his feet wet if nothing else. There’s also speculation that the Pacers could trade him as a rental for the rest of this season – Granger is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. It’s been reported that the Pacers could trade him at some point this season for “assets” – draft picks, I would assume. They really don’t have a specific need on the team right now, but I guess picks are picks, no matter how overrated they are in the NBA.

First things first, Granger has to prove that he can stay healthy for a significant amount of time so if he is traded, it won’t be anytime soon.

 

Topics: Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers, NBA

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