On Tuesday night, the Indiana Pacers finally got their captain back. Forward Danny Granger took to the court for the first time this preseason, returning from knee surgery, and finally clocking in some much-needed playing time. Having Granger back in the lineup is important for the Pacers on and off the court, both as a scorer and as a leader in the locker room.
Granger played for just a bit over 12 minutes in the 100-82 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, scoring nine points. The output wasn’t much, but Granger’s playing time on the court meant more than just scoring or adding rebounds. Having Granger able to test out the sore knee for the first time in an actual game is a small step towards getting Indiana’s team captain back at full strength full time.
Granger, who will be entering his eighth season as a pro, is the longest-tenured Indiana Pacer. Granger has been with this team longer than anyone on the coaching staff, as well. During several lean years with Indiana, Granger found the responsibility of leadership thrust upon him. As management, coaches, and players came and went, Granger’s game and status as team captain matured. Now that the Pacers seem to have finally put some proper pieces together around him, Danny Granger can finally let the weight of a failing franchise ease off of his shoulders a bit. If Granger can remain upright and stay healthy this season, then the Indiana Pacers will be poised to make some noise in the Eastern Conference, once again.