Danny Granger May Make Season Debut on February 13


The Pacers have just two games left before taking six days off for the All-Star break. They hope Danny Granger sees his first action this season on Wednesday against the Bobcats, according to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star.

But Jeremiah Johnson of Fox 59 says that it is more likely that they won’t push it just to get him a few reps before the break, and that Granger is more likely to return after the All-Star Game.

Johnson and Wells seem to be in agreement about that, insinuating that Vogel seems more hopeful than definitive that Danny will play Wednesday.

The Pacers’ first game after the break is against the New York Knicks on February 20.

The rivals are 1-1 against each other this season, so both in terms of bragging rights and playoff seeding, it will be a big game. Compounding the importance of this game, which will be played in Indiana, is that the Pacers head to New York for the two teams’ final matchup of the year on April 14. It will be the 80th game Indiana plays this year in an 82-game season, and the team certainly won’t want to have to win in Madison Square Garden to battle for the all-important two or three seed it wants to have heading into the postseason.

Right now, both teams lead their divisions so if they finish the season with the same record, whoever has the better head-to-head record would get the higher seed. That scenario isn’t overwhelmingly likely, but the Pacers also face Brooklyn and Boston in the final week of the year, so a losing skid to end the season isn’t implausible.

And at this point in the East, if I was a coach, I would rather finish sixth than fourth or fifth. The two teams that finish second and third will avoid the Heat until the Eastern Conference Finals, while the winner of the four/five matchup will have to head to Miami in the second round. If the goal is to make it as far as possible, I would much rather try to beat two of New York, Chicago, Brooklyn or Atlanta without a home-court advantage than be the four seed, have home court in the first round and then fly to Miami for round two.

Maybe that’s just me, and I’m certainly extrapolating this too far; it’s unlikely that a bad Granger return against New York on February 20, even if it does cost them the game, will be what prevents the team from getting the two or three seed. But in the unlikely event that it did play out that way, it sure would be unfortunate if the Pacers lose their final two games to the Knicks (to go 1-3 against them on the year) and then lose a tiebreaker that knocks them down to the fifth seed.

Thus, I understand why Vogel would love to get Granger into the game against the Bobcats for at least a few minutes, if for nothing else than to take some of the pressure off Danny when he presumably makes his first significant contribution in terms of minutes against New York.

Still, health obviously trumps that wish, and that extra six days of non-game rehab couldn’t hurt for a guy who hasn’t stepped on the court yet this season.

Tags: News

  • dwaink

    if i were coach V i would get him as many mins as i could before that break, to see exactly where he is. not all at once but push him for 5 mins and then let him sit and see how the knee feels, then push him for 5 more and let Danny get a feel for where he is conditioning wise and get some faith in the knee if it doesn’t act up. get him good and tired for a game and see how he bounces back before the 20th start.

    • Philip Tarrant

      If he comes back before the break, it would probably be better to bring him out just once or once a half. The more dangerous thing would be having him warm up and then sit on the bench and cool down and come back out after things have tightened up and pull something.

      • http://www.facebook.com/khalownsyou Jose Angel Perez

        No disrespect or anything like that, but I’m pretty sure that if these guys are getting paid millions they should know what they are doing and how they are doing it.

        • NexSerenade (Mike)

          With all due respect, I think that idea is bogus. Just cause you get paid a lot of money doesn’t mean a blam thing. There have been tons of players, coaches, GMs, and any other position in sports that get paid serious $$$ but end up being terrible at their jobs. Was Isiah Thomas know what he was doing because of the millions he was being paid as Knicks President? What about Kwame Brown? Paul Silas? Sidney Lowe? Elgin Baylor? (As a GM)

          I can understand maybe if you were talking about medical doctors, but even an average-Joe will occasionally get a second opinion. Should he just say “Oh, this guy is a millionaire! Whatever he says must be correct!”

          What it comes down to is this: People make mistakes. Coaches make mistakes during games; GMs make mistakes during the draft; Owners make mistakes by hiring previously mentioned terrible GMs. That’s life. Does this make the average-Joe on an internet message board questioning the moves made by his favorite sports team correct in his opinion? No. (Sometime there is NO correct opinion.) Does that mean he can question the moves made by his favorite sports team? You’re blam right it does.

          Now this is nothing against you (Jose) personally, it’s just if you (generally speaking. not actually YOU) don’t agree with someone or you (same) think they may be wrong, don’t attempt to just disqualify someone else’s opinion. Create one of your (once again, speaking to the general public) own and have an open discussion about it. I mean, the whole point of these team-blogs is to discuss sports.

          So, that said; let’s discuss sports!

          ____________

          I think that Granger will probably fairly limited in both minutes and conditioning. Young and Johnson combined for 15 minutes in the game against the Heat. (I’m using this game as a reference point because the Raptors game went to OT, and the three games before that were the back-to-back-to-back games.)

          Assuming the Pacers blow the Bobcats out (probably won’t happen but let’s just assume) the bench guy’s will get a lot of play. I don’t think this is the kind of minutes Coach Vogel wants Granger to get. Granger will eventually become a starter again, so Coach V is probably going to want to work him in with starters ASAP. (Remember how he started Green at the beginning of the year? It was because he wanted to establish as much of the second unit as possible because of all the new faces. This is something he has done a lot of since he took over for JO’B.) I think Granger will come in for Lance fairly early in the first quarter, and play the majority of his minutes with the starters. Lance would then come back in to take Paul’s spot on the court, along with usual two-at-a-time bench-swap. Granger would be one of the next two to go out, potentially with a starter coming back in depending on any myriad of factors. If the game does in fact turn into a blow out, throw Granger back in for some garbage time with a couple of starters to fill-out his minute cap and then let the bench play early.

          That would be the base rotation. But as I just mentioned, this would change during the game based on any number of reasons. The main issue would be Granger’s minutes. My guess is he will play anywhere from 8-to-15 minutes in the game, and that might be pushing it depending on his ‘game-shape.’ I say give him 8-10 minutes in the first half across two separate spurts, 3-5 minutes early in the first, the rest leading up to half time. Perhaps with help from the ‘Foster Exercise-Bike’ to avoid getting too cool. (Maybe take him out with about a minute-thirty or so left so you can avoid the ‘who-gets-the-ball’ issue. If he gets anymore minutes, either put him in with a when the clock is winding down in the third or start him in the fourth and get him out after a quick couple of minutes.)

          Also, it will be interesting to see which swingman Coach V deactivates for the game.

          Oh, and then there is the whole issue where he might not actually play. :P

          Anyway, I’ve gloriously wasted enough of not only my time but your time (if anyone actually reads this, that is) but I was bored working on a project for one of my courses and need a distraction in the form of sports talk. The end.

          Thanks,
          -Mike.

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