According to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers two oldest players will return to the lineup tonight against the Mavericks in Dallas. The first is David West, who has had a near-All-Star season, missed the past six games with a sprained lower back. The other fella returning is Danny Granger, who has missed the entire seasons aside from five games in late February/early March with a bum knee.
While Granger’s return is nice, it has gotten to the point that it will be hard to expect him to be a major contributor this season, even if Indiana has a long playoff run. It will take him a solid month to get back into true NBA shape, so the hope for him is that Granger can become a knockdown shooter and X-factor (likely off the bench) in the postseason.
As for West, he is the keystone of this whole team.
Paul George is the Pacers’ best player, but West is the patriarch both on and off the court. According to a quote relayed by Wells, Pacers coach Frank Vogel knows just how vital the under-heralded power forward is to this team.
“David is a big one,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “Our backup (power forwards) are playing really, really well. To win in the NBA, you have to score at crunch time, and David West is a guy we run most of our offense through down the stretch. That’s where it’s the most challenging.”
More good news for a team that just started off its four-game road trip with a win last night in Houston.