It was thought that Danny Granger might play tonight against Dallas.
Then the Pacers issued a press release stating that he will miss the remainder of the season as he has surgery on his left knee, the same knee that forced him to miss all but five games this year.
According to the Pacers, “the decision was made after all conservative treatment options could not alleviate the soreness Granger encountered. After consultation between Granger, the Pacers’ medical staff and Dr. James Andrews, surgery became the preferred option.”
The team also noted that Granger “is expected to be ready for training camp.”
This is obviously a set back to the Pacers playoff hopes. But after so much time off, nobody really expected Granger to offer much in terms of consistent production this year. If anything, the hope was that he could be a X-factor and hit a few big shots in a few big games.
But now there won’t even be that.
Sad season for the captain.
UPDATE: Conrad Brunner, at 1070 The Fan, adds a comment on the situation from Donnie Walsh, who maintains that Granger is a part of the team’s long-term plans. The decision to shut him down, says Walsh, was made at least in part so that he can be fully ready for training camp.
“Basically it came down to Danny telling us he didn’t think he was going to be able to play comfortably and without an operation,” Walsh said, “so that’s why we’re going this direction.”
All in all, it sounds like the platelet-rich plasma treatments Granger had received in his knee were never going — no pun intended — cut it. Surgery is needed. So it sounds like the options were to either try to play through some unbearable pain that would make him unproductive while further debilitating him and then have postseason surgery that delayed his struggle to get ready to play in 2013-14. Or, shut it down now and get healthy in time to play another day.
Or, in this case, another season.
UPDATE II: Mike Wells has talked to some more people about the year-ending injury, and reported the following in an updated post for the Indianapolis Star.
after phone calls between the team and medical people, all parties realized it was best that Granger have surgery and miss the rest of the season.
“He had a build up, we rested him, he had the flare up last time, we rested him with the intent that at a certain point we’re going to build him back up to where he has strength in his knee,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We were hoping to get him back around this time. He’s still experiencing the soreness.”
The Pacers and Granger wanted to avoid having surgery, but it was determined it was the best option after other treatments couldn’t alleviate the soreness he had been suffering from due to the patellar tendinosis. The Pacers also talked to Dr. James Andrews, who gave Granger an injection back in November.
“We had a good a meeting, he’s at peace at it,” Vogel said. “He knows this is the best decision. He’s disappointed. You have to make the best decision and we know he did.”
Wells also includes some insight from a doctor who is familiar with the type of surgery Granger is likely to have. There is a video of Vogel talking, as well, that is worth checking out.
The team is obviously bummed about the news. But George Hill has found a way to put some positive spin on a team without a deep bench losing the guy who averaged 17 points per game in the playoffs last season and nearly 22 a night in the postseason the year before.
“I think it gives us a sense of security knowing this is going to be us for the rest of the year,” Pacers point guard George Hill said. “Don’t get me wrong, we would love to have Danny back, but before we did not know when things were going to change. Then we would have had to work on getting in sync before the playoffs. Now we know we have to tighten up things with what we have now and keep rolling.”
Lastly, Geoff Goff killed it with some instant analysis over at Indiana Sports Legends. As is usually the case, the problem with this team not having Danny Granger is not that there aren’t capable fill ins. Paul George has become the team’s best player and Lance Stephenson has, surprisingly to this scribe, become a reliable starter in his third season.
The problem is the backup’s backup.
Gerald Green was brought in to be the next wing in the rotation and he has been a disaster. He has scored a few points of late, but there is no evidence that he will be anything but a liability in the postseason. Orlando Johnson, on the other hand, has been the bench version of Stephenson — a huge surprise contributor as a rookie who was drafted in the second round.
Still, who knows how he plays in the playoffs and Sam Young, a solid if unspectacular player to play defense and mop up minutes, is the only other option.
Here is Goff’s take.
Where Granger’s injury is felt most is on the bench. Fans held out hope that Granger could at least contribute 18 minutes a game as a reserve in the playoffs and add scoring punch to a second unit that sometimes struggles to find points. Now more responsibility falls on improving rookie Orlando Johnson, struggling veteran Sam Young and erratic swingman Gerald Green, who signed a generous contract in the offseason to be the sixth man but struggled so badly that he was out of the rotation for 26 games. It is hard to imagine any one of that trio being consistently reliable in the glare of the playoffs.
Not confidence inspiring stuff.
I’m not prepared to really comment on the long-term implications of this, but Goff offers some sober analysis.
Granger will be 31 when his contract expires after next season. He is owed $14 million in the final year of the $60 million extension he signed in 2008. You’d figure any general manager in the league is less than bullish on paying him eight figures as he inevitably declines, to say nothing of questions about his health and durability. Granger has never asked to leave Indiana, even when times were bad, and management has rebuilt the team with Granger at the center. But George’s ascension, Granger’s knee woes and the inability to pay luxury tax have conspired to make Granger’s days in Indiana numbered. He is seventh in franchise history in games played and made field goals and fifth in scoring. Only Reggie Miller has more 3-pointers in a Pacer uniform. It is likely that team president Donnie Walsh attempts to move Granger this summer or prior to next season’s trade deadline. Expiring contracts are valuable trade chips because they can help a struggling team clear cap space. But today’s news means any Granger deal is unlikely to bring back fair value on Granger’s talent.