Caught in the Web Indiana Pacers blog: Rec Specs could add to Hansbrough legend

"Rec Specs" may add to Hansbrough legend

Jan. 11, 2012

On anyone else, they would just be a temporary preventive measure.

On Tyler Hansbrough, they are potentially the stuff of legend.

When Hansbrough took the practice floor Tuesday, he did so wearing goggles and a bright yellow headband (to keep sweat from running down and fogging the lenses, of course). The look generated was unforgettable, something between Kurt Rambis' Clark Kent glasses and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's bug-eye specs.

It wasn't a fashion statement. It was necessity. While jostling for rebound position late in the third quarter Monday night, Hansbrough took a bonk to the noggin resulting in a scratch on his right eye. Some thought the offender was teammate Jeff Foster, but TV replays suggested the culprit was Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala.

Either way, Hansbrough's vision was so blurred he thought he had lost a contact lens.

And so he donned the goggles, which seemed to bring something more out of Hansbrough. By all accounts, he had perhaps his best practice of the season -- and that's saying something, considering this is a guy who approaches every practice like Game 7.

"He had a real good practice today. He actually caught me and dunked on me," said Roy Hibbert. "I think it might be the Rec Specs. He was playing out of his mind today. Headband and Rec Specs might be his new thing now."

Hansbrough did not return to the game Monday, a 96-86 loss, but plans to play tonight against Atlanta in Bankers Life Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). That just might be the public unveiling of the Rec Specs.

"I just put them on as a little joke but I actually like them, so we'll see what happens," Hansbrough said. "I don't mind it. It's not a fashion show out there; I'm having to protect something."

Moved out of the starting lineup with the acquisition of veteran David West, Hansbrough is the second unit's leading scorer (12.6) and rebounder (6.9). If he keeps this up, he could be a legitimate candidate for the NBA Sixth Man award.

As we all know, performance often isn't enough to capture the attention of the national voters, particularly when playing in flyover country. The Rec Specs might be just the thing.

Hansbrough, of course, doesn't see it that way. He's not sure how long he'll need to wear the goggles.

"I'm trying to figure it out now, so we'll see," he said. "I'm just wearing them so I don't get another scratch in my eye again because I really don't want to leave the game."

Early returns were impressive. If he plays tonight like he practiced Tuesday, the Rec Specs might become a permanent fixture.

"I hope he keeps it. I don't know if he will," said Coach Frank Vogel. "He's a madman normally and he was even more of a madman today."

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