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Danny Granger expected to return to Pacers Friday night

Dec 10, 2013, 5:40 PM EDT

Danny Granger AP

Danny Granger was a key reason the Pacers were supposed to be better this season — whether starting or coming off the bench, this is a former All-Star who can score the rock and add another offensive weapon to a team with the best defense in the league.

However, a calf injury has sidelined him all season. Oh, the Pacers have been better, clearly one of the league’s elite teams, but they have done it without Granger.

Until Friday. He told the Indy Star he almost certainly will be back.

“There’s a good chance. A very good chance,” Granger said. “I’m working on it everyday.”

After shootaround in preparation for the Miami Heat, Granger said that if the Pacers were playing a lesser opponent on Tuesday then he would have tried to return tonight. However, Granger, who has missed every game this season with a strained left calf, described his only hindrance as conditioning.

“I’ll have a minutes limit, strictly because I have to play my way into shape,” Granger said. “We don’t have enough practice for me to practice my way into shape. It’s literally going to be in games where I am playing where I get in shape.”

Granger will start coming off the bench and eventually that will become a sixth-man role for him ideally, a scoring spark off the bench.

Also expect Granger’s name to come up in trade talks if he can play — he is an expiring $14 million contract. For the Pacers, if he fits in with what they do as a sixth man they can use him this year to make a title run then save money just by having him come off the books. If they get an offer they can’t refuse, they take it. Worst-case scenario is they bench him for the most part — and then they are still a title contender.

It’s a good problem to have trying to fit a 20 point a game scorer back into your rotation.

  1. cmehustle - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    I think all thats left here is a guy who can come off of someones bench who can get you a few points. his days as a teams top two of three players is over.

  2. chadley71 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    granger does need to come off the bench to solidify the 2nd team and not mess with the starting group’s chemistry. he is no longer the “go to guy” for the Pacers

  3. ihitjumpshots - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Granger off the bench (and at least decently productive) makes the Pacers the favorite to win the finals in my opinion. Too much for Miami to handle

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