Indiana Pacers React To Danny Granger Injury
The Indiana Pacers entered the 2012-13 campaign widely expected to be amongst the top five teams in the Eastern Conference after their strong showing last season.
Those hopes took a huge blow when the club announced small forward Danny Granger, the team’s leading scorer since the 2008 season, would miss three months recovering from a left knee injury. According to a team report, Granger received an injection on Tuesday to treat left patellar tendinosis.
Losing Granger, a former All-Star, will cause the Pacers to adjust their style of play, but veteran forward David West says finding out the length of time he’ll be out of action actually allows the team to focus in harder on winning games.
“Obviously you lose a guy like Danny who gives you 18-20 points a game it’s a huge blow,” West told HOOPSWORLD. “But we’ve got to be professional about it. We can focus on the guys we have now. There’s no more speculation on whether or not he will be back soon.
“We were kind of on the fence of whether or not he’d be able to get back soon or not. But now that we know he’s not going to be around for a few months we’ve got to make some adjustments. Other guys have to step up. But we’ve got to continue our approach. We’ve been doing this thing collectively. We feel confident about the guys we have here.”
The conventional wisdom is that Granger’s injury will open the door for emerging swingman Paul George to be inserted into a larger role in the team’s framework.
However, West advised everyone should exercise restraint in expecting George to immediately take over where Granger left off, believing it will be a by committee approach until he returns.
“You don’t want to put too much pressure on one guy and say he’s got to make up for what Danny does,” West said referring to Paul George. “He’s getting his opportunity. We’re depending on him more than we did last year, but it’s just a matter of a guy like PG or a guy like Gerald Green when they get their opportunity they have to make the most of it.”
The Pacers signed Gerald Green to a three-year $10.5 million deal in free agency to bolster their wing and add depth.
Green says there is no replacing a guy of Granger’s caliber in the short term but is ready for his chance to step into a larger role.
“It’s definitely hurts our team,” Green told HOOPSWORLD. “No question about that. But at the end of the day we’re all professionals. It gives other players opportunities, like me, to step up and hopefully fulfill his role. There is only one Danny Granger, so we definitely can’t replace him as a player.”
Green says he’s totally comfortable with his new teammates and ready to step and play more minutes given a full training camp and preseason slate.
“I’m real comfortable,” Green said. “I’ve started with this team a few times, came off the bench with this team, so I’m very comfortable with the offensive and defensive philosophies. It’s just all about winning games right now.”