The Pacers don't know where their offense would be without Stephen Jackson. They hope his sore knee won't force them to find out.
Jackson twisted the knee coming down after a dunk during the Pacers' 82-79 victory in Game 2 Monday night in FleetCenter. Though an MRI Tuesday showed no structural or ligament damage, Jackson was unable to participate in practice Wednesday.
He expects to play in Game 3 Thursday night in Conseco Fieldhouse but just how the injury will limit his effectiveness remains to be seen.
"I do think he'll play because he's a tough guy and this is the time of the season that he really lives for," said Coach Rick Carlisle. "And he's been a gamer in his career as a playoff player, but he's going to be a little hobbled.
"He's been a consistent scorer for us in the first two games, he's made big shots and he's been doing his best to make it hard on Paul Pierce, who's a really difficult matchup. The prospect of him not being able to play at full capacity is something that has us concerned."
Jackson said he couldn't walk without pain, let alone run, but that he intended to play.
"I'm not going to be at 100 percent at all," Jackson said. "It's something I'm going to have to deal with. It's hurting but there's nothing I can do about it until the end of the season.
"Right now, I don't know what I can't do."
In addition to his offensive output, Jackson also has been matched up defensively against Boston's top scorer, Paul Pierce. Though Pierce has averaged 22.5 points, he has shot just 40.7 percent. What if Jackson is unable to handle the defensive matchup?
"We'll probably put smaller guys on Pierce, which you don't want to do because he's so big he can post up," said Reggie Miller. "And he's so quick, when you put a bigger defender on him he can go by him. It's a disadvantage but other guys have to step up."
Jackson joins a growing list of injured Pacers. Jermaine O'Neal is playing with a sprained right shoulder, Fred Jones with a broken finger on his right hand, Jeff Foster with a sore calf, and Austin Croshere and Scot Pollard with sore lower backs. Jamaal Tinsley is on the playoff roster but hasn't practiced in weeks and isn't expected to play anytime soon due to a sore foot.
"He's going to give what he can give," O'Neal said of Jackson. "Obviously he's hurting and he's going through some things, but it's just another story to add to the book. This thing's going to keep going no matter who's hurt or who's out there."