There was no surprise, no astonishment, and no shock at the sight of Tyler Hansbrough heading to the locker room during Friday's loss to the Mavericks. For Indiana Pacers fans, an injury during that game was inevitable.
With Mike Dunleavy finally returning to the lineup for the first time in many months and the roster at full strength (with the exception of Travis Diener), it was only a matter of wondering "which player" and "when" a Pacers player would be hit by a lightning bolt. Hansbrough took the fall, literally.
After plummeting to the hardwood floor like a bird shot in mid-flight, Hansbrough limped off to the locker room on the next possession. It was destined to happen. But, luckily, the Pacers caught a break this time and it appears the "full strength" roster might actually continue, at least until the next game and the next injury.
The Indianapolis Star's Jeff Rabjohns reported from practice yesterday that Hansbrough, who sat out Saturday, had X-ray's after the game and a precautionary MRI that were negative. No hidden injuries within the knee were revealed and Hansbrough is set to return to the lineup at some point during the team's Western road trip this week. "The knee feels fine. It's just a bruise," Hansbrough told Rabjohns. "We're taking it easy."
So the Pacers got off easy this time. Rabjohns also reported in his notebook that Danny Granger doesn't expect to miss any more games to rest his knee and that Mike Dunleavy fell right back into his routine Saturday without any problems with his knee after playing 16 minutes Friday. All good news for the Pacers who desperately need a full team to play together as much as possible to begin gaining confidence and trust in one another in order to get this team back on track.
The Pacers have lost five of their last six games, and they need everybody they can get. More links after the jump.
- Rabjohns' notebook also briefly mentions that coach Jim O'Brien might be considering some lineup changes...again. This time, Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jones are the focal points. Jones needs to start. With each loss, it becomes more apparent that Jones and Granger need to be complimenting each other on the court for most of the game. Those two need to be the catalyst for the team's offense and defense. O'Brien has to make this move. Hopefully, it's sooner rather than later. O'Brien said the following:
"Our rotation is being thought about. For me to tell you that I am comfortable with the rotation right now, that would be inaccurate. It's a combination of guys coming from the inactive to the active list.'' -- Jim O'Brien
- Here are some links to more recaps about Friday's games: Always Miller Time, Pacers Pulse, Examiner, and Eight Points, Nine Seconds.
- Jones was named one of the Sports Illustrated's Surprise Fantasy Studs last week.
- This was a really eye opening post on Pacers Digest by Peck. Any supporter and fan of Roy Hibbert will find Hibbert's attitude (or lack thereof) in Friday's game disheartening and sad. Hibbert is always the first guy off the bench to congratulate teammates, the loudest supporter on the bench and, basically, a towel-waving freak when the Pacers are rallying, winning and even losing. But, as Peck noted, Hibbert was in a depressed state on Friday and he sat with his warm-up jacket over his head for most of the game, looking very disinterested in the state of his team. Not sure of the reason, but hopefully he isn't getting down about his role with the team and this was just a one time thing. It's bad enough that O'Brien is cutting Hibbert's minutes and keeping him on the bench, but it's really going to infuriate me if this kills Hibbert's mojo on the bench as well. Of course, if the team keeps losing, this could be the start of O'Brien "losing" this team. Stay tuned.
- Outside of the Pacers' world, the Nets are set to fire their coach and the Sixers are considering adding retired Allen Iverson to the roster.