As the Indiana Pacers (8-9) and the Chicago Bulls (8-7) meet up for their first match of the season on Tuesday night, both teams find themselves dealing with similar injury issues. Both teams have been fighting to find their footing early in this season, after losing their team captains and leading scorers in surprising fashion. These teams have battled each other previously and continuously, through injuries and the loss of players, but both have had to totally re-adjust their game plans to compensate for the loss of their superstar starters.
Both of these teams lost their best players to unexpected knee injuries at unexpected times. The Indiana Pacers lost starting small forward Danny Granger, a former All-Star and former Most Improved Player of the Year, right before the start of the regular season. The Chicago Bulls lost starting guard Derrick Rose at the very end of the first game of last year’s playoffs. At the time of his injury, Rose was the defending MVP of the league.
These teams have both dealt with success and struggles during the early part of this season. The rivalry between the Bulls and the Pacers will continue throughout the season, as both teams try to contend for a division title, as well as a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Granger, who was recently seen on the Indiana sideline without crutches for the first time in recent weeks, is expected to miss at least two more months. Rose has reportedly started including light jogging in his workouts, and may be back around the beginning of the year.