Danny Granger is almost ready to rejoin the Indiana Pacers, but with the way things are going in Indy, he doesn't need to rush back.
Per the Associated Press (via USA Today):
The injured 6-foot-9 swingman is expected to work out Tuesday and could return to practice as early as Wednesday, coach Frank Vogel said before Monday night's game against Memphis.
Overall, the Pacers aren't playing like a team that needs a boost. They smoked the Memphis Grizzlies by a final score of 95-79 and have been playing historically good defense throughout the season's first couple of weeks.
But there's more. Lance Stephenson has basically played at a level that makes Granger obsolete. He posted a triple-double that included 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists on Monday, and is now shooting 48 percent on the season. Granger hasn't shot better than 43 percent since the 2008-09 campaign.
Stephenson fits perfectly with this Indiana group. He shoots open threes, sets up teammates, creates havoc in transition and defends at a high level. Plus, his teammates love him, a fact made evident when he logged his 10th assist of the evening.
With 10:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, Paul George curled hard off of a screen at the right elbow. When Stephenson hit him with a pass, George rose up immediately, taking a contested shot solely because he wanted to get his teammate his first triple-double.
When George's jumper splashed through the net, he and Stephenson burst into ear-to-ear smiles and exchanged celebratory chest-bumps. It was a cool moment, and one that hammered home the fact that Granger is little more than a trade chip for the Pacers these days.
Bonus tidbit: Tony Allen is very honest. After blatantly tripping Paul George to stop a fast break in the third quarter, he approached the officials reviewing the play to confirm that it was a flagrant foul. Per Scott Agness of Pacers.com, Allen walked up to the huddled referees and said of the call: "That's right. You ain't gotta look."