There really is no other way to view today’s news: the landscape of the Pacers’ 2012-13 season has changed, because indefinitely now has been defined.
Danny Granger faces a recovery time of “approximately three months,” the Pacers announced in a release, after receiving an injection in his left knee to treat left patellar tendinosis.
The procedure was performed Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, AL.
I’ve reported on a lot of different types of injuries over the years, but can’t remember hearing of this one in particular, so I did what all diligent commentators do in the absence of a Physician’s Desk Reference: I Googled it.
According to www.tendinosis.org, “Tendinosis is an accumulation over time of small-scale injuries that don’t heal properly; it is a chronic injury of failed healing.”
The site goes on to say something much more ominous:
“Once people get tendinosis, it usually becomes a long-term chronic problem with no easy solution. Many people have to change careers because they can’t get their injuries to heal well enough to go back to their jobs, even if they make ergonomic improvements.”
Which leads me to a one-word conclusion:
You have to worry about the path this one has taken. He has been dealing with the injury since late last season, but thought rest and rehab would take care of things. When that didn’t work, he had an injection of Platelet Rich Plasma in mid-September, expecting that would have him ready for the start of the regular season.
When he wasn’t, the Pacers said he would be out “indefinitely” while seeking additional medical opinions.
Assuming a best-case scenario and Granger is able to return in three months, that effectively means the Pacers will be without their leading scorer until the All-Star break in mid-February.
That would mean more missed games this season than in his career to this point.
The Pacers are 24-28 all-time in games Granger has missed, including this season’s uneven 2-2 start. In his last extended absence, when he missed 16 games during the 2009-10 season with a torn plantar fascia, the team went 5-11.
Make no mistake: no matter how much you believe in Paul George or Gerald Green, the Pacers will pose a significantly lesser threat without Granger.
With him, they could expect to battle for a top-four seed in the East. Without him, they drop into the bottom half of the bracket.
Consider the words of San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich after the Spurs dismantled Indiana 101-79 on Monday night:
“We caught a break tonight. Without Granger, their team loses their spacing and their ability to hang tough in certain periods of the game when he would keep them in the game.”
The fans might not have appreciated what he meant – sorry, means – to this team, but opponents have.
Taking a glass-half-full approach, at least the Pacers know what they’re dealing with and can proceed accordingly. Coach Frank Vogel’s positive approach to problem-solving will be the perfect mindset for a team that already had been scuffling.
Vogel has tried both Gerald Green and Sam Young at small forward with the first unit, and neither has worked out particularly well.
For the short term, Young is the better option because he is a tough-minded veteran who gives the team defense and hustle plays and does not need the ball in his hands to be a contributor. He is a Dale Davis type of glue player.
But the long-term answer may not be on the roster. Donnie Walsh and Kevin Pritchard certainly will examine their options and see what’s out there, but starting small forwards aren’t exactly in abundant supply on the marketplace.
Let’s hope Granger remains the ultimate long-term answer, that he can recover and return.
And let’s hope this becomes a rallying point for the Pacers, because it’s far too early in the season to consider the alternative.