Danny Granger could miss opening night with calf injury

Thursday October 24th, 2013

Danny Granger is expected to return in the NBA playoffs A calf injury might take Danny Granger out of the mix for the Pacers' season opener. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

There's not yet any cause for alarm, but Danny Granger has again drifted out of the Pacers' active rotation with injury. Earlier this month, Granger suffered a calf injury in a preseason game against Dallas that has sidelined him -- from both practice and games -- since. According to Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star (via EOB), Pacers head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged that the injury is more serious than initially thought, while calling into question Granger's availability for the team's season opener on October 29th.

“There’s a chance he could play on opening night, but it’s probably unlikely,” Vogel said. “He was on track to maybe have a role with the starting unit. Now, he’s struggling to find his timing. We’re running the offense through Lance (Stephenson) when he comes off the bench. We’ll see where he’s at on a day-by-day basis.”

Granger played in just five games last season because of a knee injury. The calf injury is unrelated to that, but Vogel said he is concerned that Granger is not building enough strength in the knee because he has been unable to practice for several days. The Pacers finish their pre-season schedule at Dallas on Friday.

Again: This is not an item of immediate concern. There's nothing chronic about Granger's most recent injury, and no reason to suspect that his early absence could stretch into anything more substantial as it relates to his calf, specifically. That said, the last point made by Vogel is certainly relevant -- and perhaps not considered often enough when it comes to seemingly separate ailments. While there isn't any any further damage to the knee that kept Granger out of action through the bulk of last year, a minor ding like this one does shape the way that Granger is able to work on his game and his body in anticipation of the coming season. That might only translate to a longer period of reacclimation upon his return, but at the least it's a headache for a player who has already dealt with his share of injury-induced frustration of late.

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