Per Pacers' beat writer Mike Wells at The Indianapolis Star:
Granger sore left knee. Will not return.— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNBA) March 4, 2013
Just how serious the injury is still remains to be seen, but given all that's transpired in the past involving Granger, the Pacers and injuries, the news will no doubt come as a serious blow to Indiana fans.
Granger was playing just his fifth game of the 2013 season for the Pacers since injuring his knee in their 4-2 series loss to the Miami Heat in the 2012 playoffs.
Frank Vogel had reportedly held off playing the franchise superstar until he was certain that his injury was no longer a problem, but judging on what has transpired tonight, it seems that perhaps even now was too soon to put Granger back into the mix.
Indiana are currently second overall in the Eastern Conference with a 37-22 record, but had been seriously boosted—both physically and psychologically—by the return of Granger. Which, given the fact he's their five-time leading scorer, is fairly understandable.
Granger himself had commented on the injury just last week via Steve Aschburner of NBA.com—stating that he wasn't anywhere near 100-percent ready to return:
I’m about maybe 60-65 percent of where I need to be. Part of my rehab process was going to be practicing, and we don’t really practice at this stage of the season. The issue I’m still dealing with, with my knee, is my tendon has to adjust to new stresses. But we don’t really have ‘practices’ now, so we have to do it in games. This is literally my rehab.
That line... I don’t know. I think I will approach it at one point when I’m truly healthy. Right now, we’re not there yet.
As a veteran, I know how to approach things. If it comes down to whether I’m hurting the team because I’m not healthy, I’ll evaluate that as well.
And judging on what we've seen, perhaps further evaluation should have taken place by both the Pacers' franchise and Granger himself regarding his return.
The absence of the star forward won't affect the Pacers in terms of on-court production per se, given the fact that they've done so well without him this year. Paul George and Roy Hibbert have performed very well in his absence so far this year and have carried Indiana to a strong record in the East.
But the Pacers' hopes of beating the Miami Heat in a potential Conference Finals matchup are no doubt severely diminished if Granger isn't available—regardless of how well George and Hibbert might play.
Keep it tuned on Bleacher Report for all the latest updates on Granger's injury.
Should Indiana have played Danny Granger if he's not 100-percent?
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