INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: Jeff Foster #10 of the Indiana Pacers and Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls battle for position on a free-throw in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Conseco Fieldhouse on April 23, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Bulls 89-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
When the Indiana Pacers re-signed Jeff Foster for one more year before the season started there were strong indications that Pacers wanted his veteran presence and toughness ready for the end of the season and the playoffs.
With the crazy schedule rife with back-to-backs and four games in five days, expecting Foster and his tender back to run the gauntlet wasn't realistic. Hence he has only played six games so far this season, recently missing 13 straight games to let his back heal after a setback earlier in the season.
Foster wasn't in game shape but otherwise looked pretty good against Memphis on Friday night. He made it through fine and was happy with how he felt the next day, but the training staff kept him out against Denver. As much as Frank Vogel would like to use him every night, he's keeping the big picture in view. While he could've played on Saturday, the team decided to have him avoid consecutive games.
"He's fine," Vogel said. "For now we're still trying to bring him back slowly. For now it's best that he doesn't play back-to-backs."
The good news is that with a couple of extra days off, Foster should be ready to help the Pacers take on the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Good thing because the Pacers will need all of the help they can get.