After being out with a knee injury since the preseason, Danny Granger, team captain of the Indiana Pacers, finally made his way back to the court in late February. The depth and the severity of his injury was clouded in shadow, much like the time table for his return. Granger came back to the Pacers as soon as he and the medical staff felt that he was ready. Even though the former All-Star wants to be out there to help his team, his passion is not worth the continuance of his pain, or the suffering of what Indiana has put together in his absence.
Granger made his return to the court in a hostile territory, against the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 23. Granger played over 18 minutes, but hit only one of his 10 shot attempts. Granger’s first home game this season came just three days later. Playing off of the bench, he clocked in another 18 minutes, but hit only one of his seven shot attempts.
Granger seemed to be hitting his stride in the Pacers’ next game. The former All-Star hit five of his 10 shots, and racked up 12 points in under 19 minutes of play, in a loss against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Pacers played a back-to-back, and had to travel to face the Toronto Raptors the next night. Granger was rested in the second half of the game.
The concern came on Sunday, when Granger grabbed his leg after going for a jump shot. Granger played only seven minutes against the Chicago Bulls, and did not score. Indiana’s success this season has not been linked to Danny Granger, like it has so often over the past few years. This young team has done well without one of their star players because others have emerged. Still, the Pacers will need Granger’s leadership and availability if they hope to make a deep run towards a championship.