Indiana Pacers star small forward Danny Granger left Game 5 against the Miami Heat after spraining his left ankle. He quickly went back to the locker room and stayed there as both teams broke for halftime. He is now questionable to return in the second half.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 24 -- 12:20 p.m. ET by Wes O'Donnell
The Pacers don't have to worry about if Danny Granger will play tonight anymore, but they will have to wonder which Granger will show up.
According to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, the Pacers' leading scorer will play in tonight's Game 6:
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Danny Granger (sprained ankle) will go in Game 6 tonight vs. Heat.— Jeff Zillgitt (@usat_jzillgitt) May 24, 2012
The 29-year-old swingman sprained his ankle stepping on LeBron James' foot in Game 5, but he was hardly effective while healthy.
After dominating the Magic in the opening round, Granger has struggled to find a groove against the Heat and is averaging only 13 points per game in the series.
The Pacers don't have another legitimate No. 1 scoring threat, so if they're to stave off elimination, they'll need him to wake up.
Playing injured isn't going to help his chances.
UPDATE: Wednesday, May 23 at 10:41 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
The Indiana Pacers may be trying to stave off elimination against the Miami Heat in Game 6 without star forward Danny Granger. Sources say Indiana’s top player is questionable for Thursday’s game.
Danny Granger twisted his ankle when James got under him on a three-point try, and Granger's availability in Game 6 is questionable. This is a deep team, but without Granger, the series is a no-hoper.
Kravitz is right. Despite the fact that only San Antonio has a deeper team in terms of talent at every position, Indiana needs Granger on the floor to win.
As much as the Pacers star was adding offensively, it was his ability to limit LeBron James’ offensive chances that made him the key to the series. Indiana is in serious trouble without him.
Update: Wednesday, May 23 at 7:30 a.m. ET
Danny Granger's foot might not be 100 percent before Game 6, but he told Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida that nothing is going to keep him off the floor as the Pacers look to keep their season alive. Per Tomasson:
Danny Granger on what it would take for him to not play Thursday with sprained ankle: “My foot to fall off. It’s all up to me to at least try to play. This is the playoffs. I’ll just take a bunch of pain medication.’’
Given the way Granger has played this series, you have to wonder what he is going to bring to the table if he is unable to move. He sounds like he is determined to play, so we will see if the injury forces him to change his game.
Update: Tuesday, May 22 at 10:20 p.m. ET
David Benner, the director of media relations for the Pacers, provided an update on Granger's status.
Granger X-Ray negative on sprained left ankle. He will be day to day.— David Benner (@PacersDMB) May 23, 2012
Update: Tuesday, May 22 at 9:55 p.m. ET
Danny Granger's night is done. South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman tweeted out the update.
Danny Granger officially ruled out for balance of game. He probbly wouldn't want to have to watch, anyway.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) May 23, 2012
It is now time for the Pacers to start hoping his ankle heals in time for Game 6. Otherwise, their season is as good as over.
Update: Tuesday, May 22 at 9:50 p.m. ET
Danny Granger started the second half, but he was clearly pushing the limits of his ankle. He went down and is now out of the game and in the locker room.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst drives home the severe implications this injury has on the Pacers' chances:
Big blow to Pacers with Granger injury, does many different things for them including leading scorer. Heat push lead to 14.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 23, 2012
Update: Tuesday, May 22 at 9:45 p.m. ET
ESPN's Brian Windhorst tweeted out great news for all Pacers fans.
Granger is starting 3rd, I would expect LeBron to test him out in early going.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 23, 2012
We should get a feel right away for how effective Granger will be playing on this bum ankle.
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ESPN's Brian Windhorst tweeted Granger's official status.
Danny Granger questionable to return with sprained ankle, Pacers say— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 22, 2012
In a series that has been spectacularly physical, Granger rolled his ankle without making contact with anyone as he was coming down off a three-point attempt.
You had better believe he and the team will do everything they can to get him back on the court.
The Pacers trail 49-40 in Miami at halftime with the series tied at two games apiece. This is the most pivotal half of basketball the Indiana Pacers have played in years, and they need Granger on the court to have a chance to pull off this comeback.
The most unfortunate part of all of this is that Granger was having a solid and efficient game. In 17 minutes, he had nine points. All of those points have come from beyond the arc, where he is 3-of-4 for the game.
That hot outside shooting was bound to open up some driving lanes for Granger, and this is always where he has been the most effective.
It will be interesting to see if he does make it back into the game, if he keeps his nice shooting stroke going and if he has any explosion off of that left leg.