Granger Returns to Action

By: Scott Agness

February 23, 2013

Danny Granger finally returned to game action Saturday night in the Pacers’ 90-72 road victory over the Detroit Pistons. He checked in at the 3:39 mark of the first quarter and couldn’t help but show a few expected nerves.

It was Granger’s first participation in a game since the final preseason contest up in South Bend, Ind., against the Chicago Bulls, 120 days ago. It had been 109 days since he received an injection in his left knee to treat patellar tendinosis. Until tonight, he could only watch from the bench while wearing in a suit.

His first shot of the season, a miss, came almost two minutes after he entered, on a jumper from the right elbow. After missing his first eight attempts, Granger nailed on a mid-range jumper from the left baseline with 9:25 to play in the game. Another 3-point try of his was off the mark before he checked out for good a few minutes later.

His stat line: two points (on 1-of-10 shooting), two rebounds, one assist, one block and one turnover in 18 minutes and 36 seconds.

“Rusty, but it is to be expected,” Frank Vogel said postgame. “Certainly, he’s played a lot better in the practices the last few weeks, but that is what we expected the first game back with the first taste of it. That is why we’re not throwing him back in for 40 minutes a game. It is going to take time.”

His teammates were eager to have him back on the floor and it especially showed after Granger sunk his only basket of the night. Players on the bench all cheered and jumped out of their seat in excitement.

“Everybody really wanted Danny to start getting his groove back,” said Paul George.

Granger’s rhythm and timing are still a work in progress. That’s why Vogel plans to bring him off the bench for the first few weeks. Late in the game, he did make an impressive hustle play, in which he dove after the ball on the baseline and saved it. Slow starts are typical for Granger but he demonstrated great progress and was genuinely thrilled to be back on the hardwood.

Granger’s shot selection:

  • Miss: right elbow jumper
  • Miss: step-back fadeaway jumper off the dribble, just inside the arc
  • Miss: 3-pointer, right wing
  • Miss: 3-pointer, left wing
  • Miss: 3-pointer, top of the key
  • Miss: fadeaway left elbow as the shot-clock expired
  • Miss: right-handed runner off the glass, right baseline
  • Miss: 3-pointer, right wing
  • Make: 15-foot jumper in transition, left baseline
  • Miss: 3-pointer, left corner

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