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Pacers Open 2012-13 Season Without Granger

by Scott Agness

October 30, 2012

As the Pacers open the regular season Wednesday in Toronto, they'll be without Danny Granger, who is out indefinitely with continued soreness in his knee.

"He's going to see some other doctors, get some other opinions and then we'll decide a course from there," Coach Vogel said after practice Tuesday.

A tendon in his left knee has bothered Granger dating back to the Miami playoff series last May. The pain mostly subsided and he thought it would be fine until he tweaked it again during summer workouts.

Granger was held out of the first five preseason games and finally saw the court for the final two games, though his minutes were restricted to 12 and 22, respectively. While on the floor, he never looked himself. Instead, he was timid and hesitated on every move. When he was open for a three, he hesitated and didn't bend his knee much on the release. There was also one particular play at Notre Dame against the Bulls, where Granger saw an opening and drove it in, only to throw it up quickly rather than powering up off his leg.

Last week after practice, Granger explained that he's fighting a different type of soreness, where he "has to stress through it and break up some of the scar tissue." He said the injury has been tough on him, as he had to fight through his own limitations. Most of all, he couldn't jump off his left leg.

Granger isn't the only injury the Pacers have been tending to. Starting point guard George Hill missed the entire preseason and he finally participated in an entire practice Sunday. Hill will play Wednesday and it'll be up to the entire team to collaboratively fill Granger's void.

"It's tough to lose one of your leaders, and one of your main guys," Hill said of being without Granger. "At the same time, that's what opportunities are for. He goes down, somebody else has to step up in his shoes and I think our team is going to do great at doing it."

The Pacers stressed continuity all off-season and now, before the season even begins, they are forced to shuffle the lineup.

"Gerald Green becomes our starting small forward," Vogel announced. "We've got Sam Young here on the team for a reason – he's got some veteran experience. And Lance Stephenson is going to have to step up, too.

Young had been playing with the first team throughout training camp to help the second unit build chemistry together. Green has started in Granger's absence and will continue to do so.

"The only reason I wanted the second unit together was because I had anticipated Danny being back and that second unit playing together. I just wanted them to get some reps and familiarity with each other. With Danny out, there's no desire to get that five-man unit together. Gerald just becomes our starter and we adjust from there."

"This is the opportunity that I have been waiting for," said Green.

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