averaged 18.7 points per game for the Pacers
last year. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Rob Mahoney
The preseason has already seen many players with inconvenient injuries and uncertain recovery timelines. Danny Granger is the latest victim; according to the Pacers, Granger is experiencing a soreness in his left knee and will be out of the lineup indefinitely.
That word -- "indefinitely" -- is a frightening one in basketball circles. It doesn't by definition indicate that Granger will be out for an extended period, but it hints that a long recovery could be in the cards. Such worry isn't at all diminished by reports like this one from Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:
The Pacers are talented enough to stay afloat for a spell, and the East is soft enough in the middle to give Indy a cushion. Yet ultimately, this is a completely codependent starting five. Any team built around balance rather than star power runs the risk of a minor injury tilting the entire operation, and the Pacers are vulnerable without Granger counterbalancing the rest of the starters (and vice versa). His injury may be manageable in a regular-season context, but only for so long; if Granger's "indefinite" absence winds up being a significant length of time, the Pacers could dig themselves into a playoff-seeding hole from which they can't escape.
This is a team that needs a lot to go right to fully capitalize on its roster's potential, and yet already they're dealing with adversity. They'll bounce back, and likely be fine upon Granger's return. But more of these issues could put the Pacers in a tough spot come playoff time, and make their first-round matchup far more difficult than it would be otherwise.