The return of Darren Collison in tomorrow night’s Game 3 is about as clouded as the outcome of the game itself, even though it would be safe to assume the two might go hand in hand. Collison, who sprained his ankle after an unfortunate mishap with a cameraman, sat out the second half of the Pacers/Bulls Game 2, and was listed day-to-day.
Today, Frank Vogel upped his classification of Collison’s injury as "doubtful," but Collison himself is sure that will not be the case, despite sitting out practice today. So the safer bet would probably be "game-time decision." Collison’s will won’t let him sit out, but his body may not agree.
The extra day layoff will no doubt help the recovery process on an ankle sprain, but even still, the question will be just how much will he be able to contribute if he has able to go? Collison has given the Derrick Rose and the Bulls defense fits because of his speed, which will be cut considerably with the sprain.
Collison suffered an ankle sprain this past November which caused him to miss three games over a six day stretch. No doubt, any precautionary measures that would’ve been taken in those games will not be present in this case, but it does point to Collison possibly being less than capable for the next couple of games, hoping of course the series will continue long enough for him to recover fully.
If Collison is unable to go, the play of A.J. Price and T.J. Ford will be called on again. The local Colts, no stranger to injuries themselves, work under a "next man up" mantra, one the Pacers should be all too eager to embrace should their starter be unable to give it a go. Price is the biggest question mark of course. Immediately following Collison’s exit, Price came in and turned the ball over four times in the final minutes of the half, as the Bulls used that to rally from a 9-point deficit.
In his defense, he was one of the team’s only capable players down the stretch. Price’s play has been as Jekyll & Hyde as the Pacers themselves have been this year, and both sides were seen in Game 2. Price can run the offense well, but has consistently provided his microwave offense best within the second unit. However, Price will be even more important if Collison can’t go as he’ll be the only point guard on the Pacers roster capable of going long stretches. Ford, despite confident and stellar play in his Game 2 action, is still going to be easily winded, especially if he’s going up against Rose.
All signs point to hoping Collison will benefit from the extra day’s rest, but if not, the Pacers will be facing that much taller of an order in holding home court and making it a series.