The Pacers' high expectations for this season are based in large part on all five starters returning from last season. But the team will start the season in Toronto Wednesday night without top scorer Danny Granger. The Pacers announced Tuesday that forward Danny Granger has continued soreness in his left knee and will be out indefinitely. Granger will get a second opinion from doctors before the team provides an update on his return.
"We still have a heck of a basketball team even with Danny out," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. "We'll miss him. But David West is a beast. Roy Hibbert is a beast. George Hill is a beast. Paul George is coming. Gerald Green has been one of our best players in (training) camp, and our bench is much improved. (There's) still a lot of reason for optimism and looking forward to getting started."
Gerald Green, acquired in the off-season, becomes the starting small forward.
"Things like this are going to happen," said Green just before the team boarded a plane for Toronto. "You have to be ready for anything. This is the opportunity that I have been waiting for. "
Granger led the Pacers last season in minutes played and scoring average at over 18 points per game. He injured the tendon in his left knee in the playoff series against the Heat last season. He aggravated the injury in off-season workouts. He received a plasma injection treatment on the damaged tendon last month. Granger rested his knee for much of training camp and only played in the final two preseason games. Granger has led the team in scoring the past five seasons.
"Nothing changes," said Pacers point guard George Hill, who did not play in any preseason games with his own left thumb injury. "We still have to go in and compete. We have people that can steup up and make a positive impact in games."
Hill admits he is not completely healthy, but will see his first action in the season opener. The Pacers play the Raptors in Toronto Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The Pacers play at Charlotte Friday at 7:00 p.m. The home opener at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is Saturday at 7:00 pm against Sacramento.