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Granger Held Out of Wednesday's Practice

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

November 13, 2013

The Pacers (8-0) had an energized and intense practice on Wednesday after most players had the previous day off since they just completed a difficult stretch of five games in seven nights. On Wednesday, the team did more up and down work that had a similar feel to training camp. One familiar player, however, was still missing from the fold.

One day after hitting the court for his first work in a few weeks, Pacers forward Danny Granger continued to experience soreness in his left calf and was held out of practice.

“He worked hard yesterday, kind of a 3-on-3 full practice, lot of full-court stuff – much more than he’s done in over a month,” said coach Frank Vogel. “[He] had some soreness in the calf so they’re just being precautionary with it and decided not to push it.”

Granger has been out for more than three weeks since re-aggravating his strained calf on Oct. 18. The most-tenured Pacers player was encouraged by his stint on Tuesday where they went live and ran through many plays.

“Ran up and down, practiced for about an hour, [and] felt good,” Granger said. “Had a little soreness in my calf today so they gave me today off and we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

“We played up and down, played half-court. It was pretty much a practice with six or seven people. Everybody else was off. It was a good conditioning session.”

Granger says he’s on schedule and hopes to be back soon, but nobody’s pushing it. And with the team the last unbeaten standing, there’s no real need. Once he does return – and no date has been set – he anticipates being on a minutes restriction.

“I’m encouraged because it’s a muscle strain,” he said. “I saw Derrick Rose strained his hamstring. He’s probably going through the similar things that I’m going through. [It’s] maybe just discouraging because I haven’t been able to play but encouraging as far as my knee’s not an issue. It’s a soft-tissue muscle strain, which just has to heal. That’s really nothing to be worried about.

“Once the calf heals fully, then it’s just getting it used to the pounding. I think I’m right where I need to be.”

Just over two weeks into the season, Granger was asked how good he thinks this team can be, especially once he returns.

“I think we can be as good as I think we want to be,” he said. “I think we have all the talent, we really don’t have any excuses this year. We have a better bench, we have a lot of experience in our veterans and our younger guys have gained experienced. Frank’s doing a great job coaching. I think we’re as good as we want to be. I think the only thing that’ll stop us is ourselves.”

For at least the pair of games this weekend, Granger will only be able to contribute from the bench while looking dapper in his suit. He believes the Pacers, a mature and selfless team, must stay even-keel as the season progresses.

“You don’t want to jump ahead of yourselves,” Granger added. “People keep telling me, ‘Man, ya’ll going to win every game. And I don’t think ya’ll can lose.’ When a team’s doing so well, that’s easy to say but we are off to a great start. I hope everyone doesn’t expect us to win every game. It’s an 82-game season. We’re playing a really high level now, offensively and defensively – especially defensively.”

Granger understands that folks want to see him back in uniform. He gets it, hears it often, and wants nothing more to be out on the floor with his teammates. But the injury has to heal and they’re willing to give it time.

“It’s not hard for me,” he said of his situation.. “It may be hard for everyone else. I just kind of take it in stride. Once I get over this hump, I think I’ll be OK. I’m anxious. I’m not really upset about anything, just have to wait for my calf to heal so it feels better.”

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