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Granger Improving, Increasing Practice Time

by Mark Montieth

October 15, 2012

The Pacers had a new look as they wrapped up practice on Monday. Danny Granger was participating.

Media members let in for the final half-hour or so of practice had been treated to the sight of Granger sitting in the end zone with ice bags on his knees throughout most of training camp, but this time he was on the court and playing in a five-on-five drill. Not only playing, but debating a traveling call with the coaches.

Could Granger play in Tuesday's preseason game against Atlanta at Bankers Life Fieldhouse?

"That's wishful thinking," he said. "We're aiming for the last two preseason games."

Granger injured a tendon in his left knee toward the end of the second-round playoff series with Miami last season. He tweaked it during off-season workouts, and received a platelet-rich plasma injection in Los Angeles on Sept. 16. It's a modernistic approach to an age-old problem with athletes' knees, and one that has received encouraging reviews from the likes of Kobe Bryant, who underwent a similar procedure in 2011.

In the PRP procedure, blood is drawn from the patient, spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-poor plasma, and injected into the damaged tendon.

Granger is following the prescribed recovery plan, and is confident he'll have a healthy knee during the upcoming season. He participated in about 75 percent of practice on Sunday and Monday and expects to gradually increase his involvement as the regular season opener approaches.

"As it goes on I think it will be stronger and stronger," he said.

Media members didn't see enough of Granger's performance on Monday to pass judgment on his health, but coach Frank Vogel gave him a positive review.

"He looked sharp," Vogel said. "I was telling (team president) Donnie Walsh, I thought he looked sharper in today's practice than he did all of last year."

Granger's absence from preseason games could hamper the starting unit's early chemistry. That group returns intact from the end of last season, however, so the hope is that the adjustment period will be minimal.

"It's a factor, but ... the guys who were here last year pick right up where they left off last year," Vogel said. "I don't think there's going to be any issues there. There will be a little bit of a learning curve there, but not much."

Notes

David West sat out Monday's practice with a slight ankle sprain, suffered in Sunday's practice ... George Hill, still nursing a sore thumb that was hit in practice, might not play on Tuesday ... Vogel said he is considering sitting backup center Ian Manhimi, who played well in Friday's win over Minnesota, to allow rookie Miles Plumlee to play more minutes ... Atlanta's new president/general manager has made changes throughout the roster and front office. Joe Johnson was traded to Brooklyn, while Marvin Williams was traded to Utah. New additions include point guard Devin Harris, Kyle Korver and Lou Williams. Pike High School's Jeff Teague returns in the backcourt. Center Al Horford, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury, also returns. ... The Hawks are 1-2 in the preseason, defeating Miami and losing to San Antonio and Memphis.

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