Granger’s Injury Spells Season’s End for Pacers

Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

The Indiana Pacers were hit with some unfortunate news regarding their most prized commodity — Danny Granger.

According to a report from NBA.com, the star small forward received an injection in his knee to treat left patellar tendinosis and is expected to miss three months of NBA action.

The loss of Granger is an immediate blow to the Pacers, who had hopes of championship stardom with the recent development of guard Paul George and center Roy Hibbert.  The six-foot-8 swingman is the focal point for the Pacers’ developing offense and an instant mismatch for any NBA team.  In fact, he’s not only a player who can take the bigger forwards off the dribble, but post up the smaller guard/forwards to get to the basket with ease.  In fact, he did it efficiently last year, averaging 18.7 points and five rebounds per game while dropping 38 percent from the three-point line.

Now, the Pacers will have to trudge on without their leading scorer and leader on the floor for a good stretch of time.  And it will most likely result in the team missing the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Though, they still have some hope of treading water until Granger returns.  George has turned into an efficient scorer and Hibbert is becoming one of the premier centers in the game with his first All-Star nod during the 2011-12 season.  He’s averaging 8.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per contest in four games so far.  Also, David West is emerging into a reliable teammate, the one fans saw win his last few years with the New Orleans Hornets when he averaged about 19 points per game.  He could see a real boost in his numbers (currently 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds on 49 percent shooting) with much of the offensive load put on his shoulders.

Still, Granger will be absent for three months (60 percent of the 2012 campaign), which doesn’t help any cause, except for the competitors in the Eastern Conference, namely the Chicago Bulls who are looking to turn in a meager first half until Derrick Rose returns.  If Indiana can keep pace with Chicago come the All-Star break, it will be a dogfight to the end in the last playoff spot of the Eastern Conference standings.

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