After being held out of Friday’s game against the Chicago Bulls with a sore left hip, Malcolm Brogdon is being considered as “week-to-week” with a quad muscle (rectus femoris) injury, the Pacers said Saturday in a release.
“We’re talking about a couple of weeks maybe that he may be out going down the stretch here,” said Nate McMillan. “So it’s definitely a setback, but hopefully he can heal as soon as possible and get himself back on the floor.”
Brogdon sustained the injury during the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Bucks and quickly exited for the locker-room after playing just 11 minutes and abruptly pulling up on a drive in semi-transition while noticeably grimacing.
With Brogdon hurt, the Pacers will likely continue to pivot to Aaron Holiday in the starting lineup while perhaps initiating more of the offense through the post and Victor Oladipo out on the perimeter. As for the bench, match-ups will likely dictate whether the team plays big with JaKarr Sampson at power forward and Justin Holiday shifting to the two or merely fills out the rotation with Edmond Sumner, who impressed in extended action against the Chicago Bulls on Friday with his ability to wheel-and-deal in transition while also hawking the ball at the point of attack.
Either way, the second unit is poised to have less elbow room than what they’ve been used to with both Holiday brothers in tow, so they’ll probably need to look at making up for what they lack in space with screening and pace.
Last night, for instance, the Pacers had T.J. McConnell set an off-ball screen for Goga Bitadze as the eventual ball-screener so as to give Sumner a head-start against Chicago’s blitzing defensive scheme, but the play didn’t progress quite quickly enough and Sampson ended up missing a lay-up at the rim off a straight-line drive.
On the season, the Pacers have been outscored by 0.3 points per possession in the 163 minutes that McConnell and Sumner have been on the floor together, which means nailing down some of these types of wrinkles could prove key to the serviceability of those lineups over a larger sample size.
Short-term rotation hurdles aside, however, Brogdon’s latest injury puts yet another prolonged hold on the starting lineup’s ability to jell ahead of the playoffs. In all, Indiana’s first unit, with Brogdon and Oladipo joined by Warren, Turner, and Sabonis, has only logged 86 minutes of action together with only 19 games left to play.
For that reason, if they can’t be certain they’ll have a chance to gear up for the playoffs at full-strength, then they arguably need to err on the side of filling rotation holes with youth as much as possible while perhaps leaning harder on Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, at the risk of being overly cautious with Oladipo.
After all, with several games coming up later this month against smaller opponents (i.e. Celtics, Rockets, Clippers, etc.), there’s no better time than the present to continue to fleshing out how they fare when they attempt to force teams to bend to them rather than adapting to their competition.