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Hansbrough Craving Contact But Return Still Unknown

Tyler Hansbrough has  been working hard to prepare for the upcoming season, doing everything but actually playing basketball. Doctors have restricted Hansbrough to non-contact activity as he's worked to return from an inner ear ailment that has kept him off the court for several months now.

In general, we know basketball is a contact sport but for Hansbrough contact is a critical part of his game. Conrad Brunner talked with Hansbrough about his status yesterday which I took as a great sign that the team is willing to make him available for public comment. Hansbrough's comments were extremely guarded, promising nothing about when he might return, other than that he'll know more after meeting with doctors later this week.

Hansbrough did let his guard down a little when Bruno asked about dealing with the "non-contact status" for so long. "Once I start taking contact, I'll be very happy," he admitted.

So when will that be? I was hoping this was the first of the positive preseason reports on Hansbrough getting back in action, but then a comment by training camp invitee, Lance Allred put things back in a holding pattern, not only for Hansbrough but for Jeff Foster as well.

The source for D-League info, Scott Schroeder caught up with Allred at The FanHouse to ask him about signing with the Pacers for training camp.

"I arrived in Indiana (Sunday) night and had a good day of training for my first day," Allred told FanHouse. "(Tyler) Hansbrough and (Jeff) Foster are both out with injuries, and so I was very excited to come, knowing I would get some reps."

So did Allred mean Hansbrough and Foster are out now so he's getting plenty of reps with the players as they prepare for camp next week or did he mean he chose to camp with the Pacers because Hansbrough and Foster would be out giving him more opportunties for reps in camp?

Let's hope it's the first option, but with the way things have played out around here over the past few years, I'd mentally prepare for option two. Maybe the NBA will allow Hansbrough to wear the padded headgear amateur boxers use in the ring.

After the jump, more links to add to these stories including Earl Watson settling on Utah and other free agent news.