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Danny Granger returns too, but appeared ‘a little rusty’ to Pacers’ head coach

Danny Granger

Indiana Pacers’ Danny Granger reacts after hitting a shot during the first half of Game 4 of their NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series against the Miami Heat, Sunday, May 20, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Derrick Rose wasn’t the only player making a long-awaited return to the court when the Bulls and the Pacers opened the preseason against each other on Saturday. Danny Granger, who missed essentially all of last season with a knee injury, came off the bench for Indiana and scored six points on 2-of-10 shooting in 29 minutes of action.

Granger looked as though he was pressing to try to get most of his looks offensively, and clearly wasn’t yet comfortable back on the court. He airballed a decent look from three, and just flat-out missed two layups in transition.

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel noticed how off Granger appeared, but said afterward that the performance was to be expected.


“He was a little rusty, and I wouldn’t expect anything but that,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “His game condition is in the final part of his recovery.”

Granger entered the game with 6:02 left in the first quarter. He made his first basket, a 3-pointer, with 10:54 left in the second quarter.

“It was a good first step,” Granger said. “My second wind didn’t kick in during the first half like it usually does, but it was good to get that under my belt.”

Granger’s addition to the lineup would greatly help the Pacers, obviously, should he be able to get anywhere near the player he once was. A consistent and dangerous scorer, Granger made the All-Star team in 2009 when he averaged a career-best 25.8 points per game.

He wouldn’t be called upon to provide that kind of production, given the way Indiana’s roster is currently constructed. Once healthy, he could prove to be a valuable boost off the bench, especially offensively. But it’s clear he’s not close to being that player just yet.