Granger gave his Pacers teammates a bit of an emotional lift before they boarded a plane for the West Coast. He came to Monday’s practice without crutches for the first time since receiving an injection to aid the recovery of his knee.
Granger did not speak to the media, but Hill said the sign of progress was speaks volumes. “It’s “very encouraging. I’m thankful that he’s recovering well.”
Vogel tried to temper expectations. The timetable for Granger’s return hasn’t changed.
“He’s still a long ways away,” Vogel said. “That’s a lifetime for me.”
The Pacers are struggling badly without star player Danny Granger, and yes, one more threat has been removed in the Eastern Conference—for now.
Granger made the All-Star team in 2009 and is the Pacers’ top player, though Paul George is emerging as the de facto superstar of the team in Granger’s absence.
They’re mired in a long road trip and relief isn’t on the way. Pacers coach Frank Vogel isn’t optimistic, but remains focused. Granger is the key to the Pacers offense, and without him it is requiring a lot more ingenuity on the part of Vogel.
How do you replace 20-plus points per game? How do you replace a guy who isn’t afraid to take and make big shots?
Simple answer: You don’t—and you can’t.
It’s a long season, but Granger is a long ways away. By the time he returns, the Pacers could be entirely out of the hunt for a playoff berth and the season could be a complete waste for the Indy faithful.