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Danny Granger finally back for Pacers

Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting on the Pacers getting even stronger:

Danny Granger finally back for Pacers

Danny Granger’s absence for most of the past 18 months caused some angst among Indiana Pacers fans. They wondered how the team’s top player for so many years would fit in with a group that was doing quite nicely without him.

But no matter the misgivings, they showered him with love when he played for the first time this season during a 114-81 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Granger, who missed the first 25 games because of a calf strain, went to the scorer’s table along with Luis Scola to check in with about 4½ minutes left in the first quarter. The sellout crowd of 18,165 started cheering loudly and Area 55 — the fan section sponsored by teammate Roy Hibbert — started a “Danny, Danny” chant that quickly spread.

He got a standing ovation when he officially checked in with 4:05 remaining. He made his presence felt on the defensive end, coming from the weak side to block a shot by Houston’s Dwight Howard.

Yeah, by now you’re probably bored of hearing “Danny Granger set to return!” stories. But this time it’s happening. Probably. At 19-3, the Indiana Pacers don’t seem to need any additional help, but they’ll soon receive it. Here’s ESPN.com on it:

Danny Granger should play soon for Pacers

Danny Granger has played in only five games over the past two seasons for the Indiana Pacers, but he’s hoping to make his return this week.

Granger said he won’t play in Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat and instead is targeting Friday’s home game with the Charlotte Bobcats as he recovers from a calf injury that’s kept him out of the team’s first 21 games. He was limited to five games last season because of a knee injury.

“There’s a very good chance, hopefully on Friday,” Granger said. “I’m conditioning my legs, getting my wind. The knee is not an issue at all. The calf is pretty good now.”

After Granger experienced several setbacks over the past year, the Pacers aren’t committing themselves as strongly to the return.

The Indiana Pacers have been great this season, and getting Danny Granger back, even if he’s not the player he used to be, would make them even deeper. Here’s the Indianapolis Star:

Danny Granger returns to practice for Pacers

The unexpected continues on the Indiana Pacers’ eventful trip to Texas: Danny Granger practiced.

“I feel good,” Granger said following the Friday session, his first live participation in weeks. “I was running, sprinting, playing live for about an hour, so I felt really good.”

Since Oct. 28, when the team announced that Granger would miss approximately three weeks with a strained left calf, the sight of the veteran forward had been limited to post-practice shooting drills and sideline cheering. The team’s timeline has long since expired and Granger has missed all 19 games this season.

Though he practiced, Pacers coach Frank Vogel announced that Granger would not play Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs. Vogel said there is no new timeline for Granger’s return to the lineup.

The Indiana Pacers were expected to be good this season, but they’ve exceeded expectations, and look as legit an NBA championship contender as anybody. But as for what they’ve done so far, here’s the Indianapolis Star with some history:

Thirty teams have begun a season 8-0. The 12 that had their streaks snapped in the ninth game averaged 55.5 wins. The over-under on victories for the Pacers this preseason, according to Bovada Sportsbook? 54.5.

“Just taking it in stride,” coach Frank Vogel said.

Eight of the 30 teams won titles and four others reached the Finals. It includes legendary teams such as the 1996-97 Bulls, 2007-08 Celtics and 1987-88 Lakers. But it also includes a 1979-80 Portland team that finished with a losing record and Seattle in 1993-94, which started 10-0, finished 63-19 and was the first No. 1 seed to lose in the first round, getting upset by No. 8 Denver.

The Indiana Pacers are off to a fantastic start, and have a solid bench this season, but there’s always room for Danny Granger’s services once he’s healthy. Here’s the Indianapolis Star:

Danny Granger

Granger was supposed to battle with Lance Stephenson — who had a breakout campaign while Granger was absent for most last season — for the fifth and final starting spot before the calf injury. But Stephenson is off to a strong start and his leaving the starting lineup appears less and less likely. The Pacers also appear to have plenty of depth.

But Vogel said he won’t have any problem finding playing time for Granger when he returns.

“He’s going to be another perimeter threat for us,” Vogel said. “We need his veteran’s savvy, we need his big-play ability. He’s a winning player.”

Granger, who has played his entire eight-plus year NBA career with the Pacers, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

The 8-0 Indiana Pacers are off to a great start, and their depth should only increase soon. Here’s the Indianapolis Star:

Danny Granger

After Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger shot down reports about a setback with his surgically repaired left knee, coach Frank Vogel repeated Monday that the veteran will return to the practice court this week.

“I still think it’s going to be a new beginning of a process to get his game legs back under him and his game timing,” Vogel said before the Pacers hosted the Memphis Grizzlies at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “So I’m not sure when his return date will be, but he’ll start practicing.”

The Pacers will not have a full practice today, so Granger, who is entering the final week of what was expected to be approximately a three-week absence with a calf strain, will participate in individual work and possibly 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 games. By Wednesday, Granger and the Pacers should be back to full practicing.

Pacers forward Danny Granger out 3 weeks

danny granger

Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger will miss approximately three weeks as he rehabilitates a strained left calf injury sustained in the preseason.The length of time is a precautionary measure as the team wants to ensure Granger is physically ready to play in light of missing all but five games last season due to his knee injury. The rehabilitation time is strictly related to the calf injury.

Hopefully Granger finally returns for the Pacers and is able to contribute regularly from that point on.

According to the Pacers.com blog, “What we know for sure now is that Lance Stephenson will start for the immediate future, and probably for the rest of the season. Coach Frank Vogel stated early in training camp that Granger would start if healthy. More recently, he said Granger would be given starting opportunities once healthy to see how it worked. Given the uncertainty of Granger’s availability, Vogel might decide to stick with Granger in a reserve role, where any uncertainty surrounding him would have less impact. If the Pacers open the season well with Stephenson in the starting lineup, why change?”

Indiana Pacers release Hilton Armstrong

indiana pacers

The Indiana Pacers announced Saturday they have released forward/center Hilton Armstrong.

The Pacers’ roster now stands at 14 players.

With the NBA regular season starting on Tuesday, teams around the league are trimming their rosters down to 15 players or less.

Well, Danny Granger is banged up again. But it’s minor, hopefully. And not directly related to the stuff that kept him out for a long time. Hopefully. And the good news is, the Pacers are a talented team with a nice bench, so they can afford to be patient. Here’s Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star:

danny granger

Danny Granger’s return to the Indiana Pacers likely will be delayed a bit longer — although no one knows exactly how long.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after practice Thursday that the strained calf suffered by Granger last week is worse than previously thought and he doubts the former All-Star forward will play in the team’s regular-season opener against Orlando on Tuesday.

“There’s a chance he could play (against the Magic), but it’s probably unlikely,” Vogel said.

Granger did not play in Tuesday’s 107-89 preseason victory at Atlanta and will not play Friday night in the Pacers’ preseason finale at Dallas. He missed all but five games last season because of a knee injury.

George Hill hurts ankle in preseason loss to Rockets

The goal in every NBA preseason game is to escape without a player sustaining an injury.

Even in a setting on Sunday when the Indiana Pacers finished their Global Games with an exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan – while entertaining a voracious crowd ranked high for the basketball ambassadors, knees and ankles still mattered more.

During the Pacers’ 107-98 loss to the Houston Rockets at the Taipei Arena, point guard George Hill collided with Roy Hibbert during a third quarter play and grabbed at his ankle. Head coach Frank Vogel described Hill’s injury as a mild ankle sprain.

Paul George led the Pacers with 19 points while backup forward Danny Granger, recovering from knee surgery, scored 15 points and grabbed a team-best nine rebounds in his most productive preseason performance.

Reported by Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star

First-year Pacers forward Solomon Hill has impressed head coach Frank Vogel as a “proven” player on the court, but to his teammates, he’s still a rookie — which makes Hill an errand boy.

Through the first week of training camp, center Roy Hibbert would often shout “Hey, Rook!” and dutifully, Hill would heed the command to bring the veteran a bottle of water. Even off the court, the rookie duties have continued.

“Hasn’t been anything too serious yet,” Hill said. “It hasn’t been too bad. Nothing too crazy. Get video games.”

“Grab towels for the guys, you know, some guys want certain lotions.”

Reported by Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star (Blog)

Pacers forward Luis Scola discusses his love of travel

“I like traveling a lot,” said Scola, who spent much of the summer player for Argentina in Venezuela. “I think it’s fun. You get a chance to see new countries and do what a lot of people pay a lot of money to do and do it for free. We’re actually getting paid for doing this. I think it’s great. It’s one of the best things about basketball. And every time you go to a new place … it’s a fact there is a lot of stuff we didn’t see because we’re flying, we’re playing, we’re practicing, we’re doing media, we’re doing events and a lot of things. There is always a good chance to come back and do all the stuff we couldn’t do because we were playing.

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

Danny Granger will have important role on Pacers, whether he starts or not

Although Lance Stephenson walked out on the floor with the starters on Saturday night, Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel has not yet settled on his top five.

“Obviously, if Danny Granger comes back to the level that he was playing at before, then he’s our starter and it’s going to be an exciting group, and Lance comes in and gives us some spark off the bench,” Vogel said. “But look, there’s a lot of different ways that you can use guys, and I haven’t made any final decisions.”

San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili and James Harden, during his time with Oklahoma City, set the precedent of sixth men who play major minutes and finish games. If Granger were to remain on the bench, he would play a similar role.

Reported by Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star

C.J. Watson seems like great fit for Pacers

C.J. Watson has spent nearly his entire professional career coming off the bench so when the Indiana Pacers told him that likely would be his role if he accepted their free-agency offer last summer, he was fine with it.

Yet, Watson also knew the Pacers were crying out for help at point guard. Even if he didn’t start, substantial playing time could be had on a team in which starting point guard George Hill often resembles a shooter and scorer as much as a distributor.

“D.J. (Augustin, the Pacers’ previous backup now in Toronto) still played a lot last year,” said Watson, who signed a two-year, $4.1 million contract after spending last season with the Brooklyn Nets. “That was a good thing for me to see, knowing I could help this team.”

After the first few days of training camp, coach Frank Vogel sounds more convinced than ever he will do just that.

Reported by Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star

Danny Granger draws compliments after Indiana Pacers practice

Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger played to positive reviews in his first practice since undergoing season-ending knee surgery six months ago.

From his teammates. From coach Frank Vogel. From Granger himself.

“For me, it honestly went better than expected,” Granger said after the Pacers’ first training camp practice on Saturday. “It felt good out there.”

Granger said pushing off his knee, which bothered him before the surgery and limited him to five games last season, no longer is an issue. Now, he wants to build endurance in it. Doctors have told him it takes a year to fully recover from the surgery he had, but players can return to action in six months.

Reported by Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star

Indiana Pacers sign Paul George to multi-year contract extension

The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday they have signed veteran guard/forward Paul George to a multi-year contract extension. According to the Indianapolis Star, “George is eligible for a five-year contract that will pay him approximately $80 million to $90 million, according to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. If he is named to one of the league’s three All-NBA teams at the end of next season, he would be eligible for more than $90 million. If not, he could make almost $80 million.”
According to the Associated Press, “We’re all in this year,” Larry Bird said. They proved it Wednesday by officially singing George to a five-year max contract extension that guarantees him between $80 and $90 million and could be worth even more if George reaches an escalator clause. George’s deal comes after David West’s new three-year, $36 million contract, Bird’s offseason spending spree to improve the bench and last year’s expensive deals to keep center Roy Hibbert and point guard George Hill. The Pacers are almost certain to have their core nucleus together for several more years. And with the Pacers coming off back-to-back playoff runs in which they pushed Miami, the expectations are soaring.”

The 6-7, 225-pound George is considered one of the rising stars in the NBA. Last season, his third in the NBA, George averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He made his first All-Star appearance as a reserve for the East in the NBA All-Star Game, was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player while also being named to the All-NBA third team and the All-Defensive second team. George was the Pacers’ No. 1 draft pick (10th overall) in the 2010 draft.

“I want to thank the Pacers for believing in me when they drafted me,” said George. “To continue my career with the Pacers was a very easy decision. We have great ownership, a great front office, great fans and I’m blessed with great coaches and great teammates. I use great a lot because that is what this franchise is and I’m hopeful we can be part of great things in the future.”

“Paul represents not only what our team and franchise is about, but what a professional athlete should be,” said President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He strives every day to be the best he can be, as a player, as a teammate, as a person and as a representative of this franchise.”

Associated Press: “George showed up for the news conference in a nifty gray suit, dapper shoes, trendy eyeglasses and neatly trimmed hair. But he didn’t sound different from the blue-collar guy who has been impressing Pacers coaches and teammates since he was taken 10th in the 2010 draft.”

Paul George
Pacers, Paul George finalizing huge contract extension
Must get even better to validate this huge contract

All-Star forward Paul George and the Indiana Pacers are finalizing a five-year, $90 million-plus maximum contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

A deal is expected to be signed this week, league sources told Yahoo.

For the Pacers and George, who was voted the 2013 NBA Most Improved Player, the five-year deal will cement the gifted young forward as Indiana’s designated franchise player. George’s extension will begin with the 2014-15 season. He will make $3.2 million this season.

In three NBA seasons, George has developed into one of the league’s most thrilling young talents, blossoming into a starring role in the Pacers’ march to a Game 7 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports

Paul George says he will sign Pacers contract extension soon

Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George said today the team’s fans don’t need to worry about him going anywhere.

Indianapolis is his professional home and he plans to be here for a long time.

“(A long-term contract) is going to get done,” George told The Indianapolis Star. “There will be a deal signed and sealed on the table before the season. We’re (George and Pacers management) on the same page.”

George is entering the final year of his contract and the odds seemed long that he would leave Indiana even before Wednesday’s comments. The Pacers would have the right to match any offer he received next summer and have indicated they would do just that.

Reported by Michael Pointer of the Indianapolis Star

The Indiana Pacers announced Tuesday the signing of free agents Ron Howard and Darnell Jackson. We assume (but have not confirmed) that these are nonguaranteed deals for training camp, merely giving the players a chance to make the regular season roster.

Howard is a 6-5 guard/forward who played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League last season.

Jackson is a 6-8 forward who played with the Reno Bighorns of the D-League last season. He has played with Cleveland, Milwaukee and Sacramento in the NBA.

Indiana Pacers

Roger Brown became a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer on Sunday, with another Hall of Famer telling people what the former Indiana Pacers superstar in the old ABA meant to the franchise.

“People say that I put the Indiana Pacers on the map,” Reggie Miller said. “No, it all started with Roger Brown.”

Brown, who died in 1997, was presented by Miller and Hall of Famer Mel Daniels, a teammate of Brown’s.

Brown’s daughter, Gayle Brown Mayes, called it “a really special day” but “bittersweet” because of her father’s absence.

During the induction, Mayes was on the stage with Brown’s son, Roger Jr., plus Miller and Daniels.

Reported by Curtis Harris, special to the Indianapolis Star

Brown was the first player to sign a contract with the Pacers when they were formed in 1967, based on the recommendation of Oscar Robertson, who had played against him in off-season pickup games. Although 25 years old when the ABA was formed, and already operating on knees softened from playing so many games on asphalt and concrete, he was a first-team all-ABA selection in 1971, played in four All-Star games and was a member of the Pacers’ three championship teams. He was coming off the bench by the third one, in 1973, was traded away in 1974 and retired after playing 10 games with the Pacers at the end of the 1974-75 season.

His shining moment, however, came in the 1970 ABA Finals when the Pacers defeated the Los Angeles Stars in six games for their first title. He averaged 28.5 points in the series and scored 53 in a win in L.A. He also once hit all 14 shots in a game, and was one of the game’s greatest clutch players. Pacers coach Slick Leonard often sent the other four players to one side of the court and let Brown go one-on-one for clutch baskets.

Reported by Mark Montieth of Pacers.com

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