According to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger practiced with his team in San Antonio for the first time in weeks on Friday. The Pacers wanted to make sure Granger was fully healthy and ready to go before returning, and it seems his return date could be close.
“I feel good,” Granger said after the practice session. Granger was “running, sprinting, playing live for about an hour” during the practice. Head coach Frank Vogel said he didn’t look limited and there is no new timetable for his return, but he’s still a ways away.
Granger kind of contradicted his coach’s comment, saying he’s obviously not far away after practicing today, and by the way he looked, he may be right. The Indy Star posted a video of Granger shooting, and he was nailing three after three. His shooting isn’t the concern, however, as he missed most of last season with a knee injury and the beginning month of this season with a calf strain. Indiana most likely wants to make sure his legs are healthy enough to the point where he can play 10-20 minutes (or more) a game without any issues.
Although Granger is a very solid all-around player, the Pacers haven’t struggled much without him. They are 17-2 on the season, and are 20-2 if you include the preseason. Although they are doing fine with him hurt, he would definitely improve the already best team in the NBA. Some people have been questioning whether his return would actually help or hurt the team, because it would mess up their chemistry, but as long as Vogel makes the right decision in playing him off the bench, he can only help them. There really hasn’t been much chemistry built this season on the bench anyway, as Indiana has been testing out a variety of second units, and it seems every new lineup they try has a different small forward on it compared to the last. Granger coming in would simply be yet another test, but would most likely be permanent barring another injury, of course.
Indiana certainly has to be excited that Granger is getting closer and closer to a return. With him back on the court, the Pacers could be even better than they already are, which would increase their chances of reaching their one goal this regular season in securing the No. 1 seed for the playoffs and home-court advantage.