It's funny how fast a laudable, quality effort can turn into a frustrating missed opportunity, but that's what happened to the Pacers last night in Chicago.
Playing short-handed without George Hill, Rodney Stuckey and Myles Turner, the Pacers played the first 30 minutes of the game trying to ward off a blow out. Then suddenly the Bulls had their own injury issues, losing Derrick Rose for the night, and the Pacers went down the stretch with a chance to steal a win.
Jimmy Butler stopped the crime in progress along with Paul George on the final possession leaving the Pacers a bucket short of hauling a W out of Chicago. Considering the Pacers used several lineups for the first time, along with Joe Young and Solomon Hill playing their first significant minutes of the season, the effort remains laudable. But surviving this stretch of injuries means the Pacers have to find new ways to win, as Paul George told Candace Buckner.
"I think everyone collectively has to step up," George said, referring to future games when the Pacers miss key players. "Right now it's to the point where we don't have that next man. It's just everyone has to come with it and bring a little bit more."
The Pacers will likely try to survive their next game in Philadelphia against the winless 76ers without GHill (sick) and Stuckey (ankle) which would give them a few more days off before the team returns home to play Milwaukee on Saturday.
As for Turner, the rookie big man will be on the shelf at least another six weeks after having surgery on his fractured thumb. According to Frank Vogel, the surgery revealed ligament damage so six weeks may be a hopeful prognosis.
"During the surgery, they found a ligament tear as well and that's complicated things a little bit and prolonged the timeline," coach Frank Vogel said before Indiana's game at Chicago. "Six weeks is the earliest he'll get back. It could be longer."
On the bright side, Vogel is the master of managing injruy expectations by giving the bleakest outlook, so hopefully the young fella is a quick healer.
Before checking the links, here's Paul George assessing the Pacers situation following the loss last night.
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