Rush Eager To Get Back In Action With New-Look Pacers
February 11, 2011
Brandon Rush could hardly contain his smile.
Returning to full health is part of the reason for his good mood. The bigger factor is the desire to get a piece of the action with the new-look Pacers, who are surging under Frank Vogel.
"I'm definitely anxious to get back in there," said Rush after today's shootaround as the Pacers prepared for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. "It's looking like a whole different type of team we have now with everybody being involved and everybody getting the chance to have the ball in their hands and make plays.
"You can definitely see it in Roy (Hibbert)'s face. Roy's a lot happier now and everybody else is happy, too. We're just playing ball. … I think the same thing that goes for Roy goes for me, being confident, being in a good atmosphere."
Just exactly what role awaits Rush remains to be seen. In the seven games Rush missed with a sprained right ankle, Dahntay Jones has re-established his value off the bench, averaging 7.3 points on 14.0 minutes in playing the last six in a row. Jones had languished on bench under Jim O'Brien, appearing in just nine of the first 44 games – and one in the 15 before the coaching change.
Vogel is hesitant to mess with success, as the Pacers have won five of six.
"(Rush) will be active tonight. I'm not sure yet if he will play," Vogel said. "I'm probably leaning more toward not rocking the boat. We're playing well.
"I want to have him available. He could step in and play 30 minutes and we wouldn't skip a beat. We'd improve in some areas. I've got great depth at the wing and he'll be active but I'm not sure yet how I'm going to use him."
Rush is the team's fifth-leading scorer (10.9) and is first in 3-point percentage (.417). O'Brien used him as a part-time starter against teams with tougher defensive matchups on the wings. Rush averaged 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 13 starts but the Pacers went 4-9.
"I'm hoping (to have) the same role I had at the beginning of the year," Rush said, "coming off the bench and giving us a spark."
He may have to wait a bit to get fully back into the swing of things.
The way things are going at the moment, after all, there's no rush.