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- David West will miss his second consecutive game with a lower-back sprain sustained Saturday in Philadelphia, but the Pacers hope he can return Friday. “It’s viewed as a short-term thing,” Coach Frank Vogel said. With West out, Tyler Hansbrough will start at power forward. In two starts this season, Hansbrough has racked up 37 points and 21 rebounds on 14-for-25 shooting.
- Danny Granger has been cleared to resume full activity but won’t play tonight, and is unlikely to play in the weekend games Friday and Saturday, Vogel said. The Pacers want to see how his left knee responds to individual workouts and practices before putting him back in uniform. “If his knee responds well,” Vogel said, “We’ll try to get him back in there as soon as we can.” Granger missed the first 55 games with left knee tendinosis, returned to play five off the bench but knee pain returned and he has been back on the shelf since March 3.
- With Granger’s comeback slowed, the Pacers have turned to Gerald Green for a spark off the bench. Green, out of the rotation the past two months, returned with a bang Monday, scoring 20 points with six rebounds in the Pacers’ 111-90 victory in Cleveland. “His ability to shoot the basketball separates him, along with his athleticism,” said Vogel. “That’s a big weapon to have off the bench.”
- Orlando has gotten a nice lift from newcomer Tobias Harris, a second-year forward obtained from Milwaukee in the J.J. Redick deal. The 6-8, 226-pound Harris has averaged 14.4 points and 8.8 rebounds in five starts for the Magic. “We’re trying to get a grasp of seeing what he can do for us now and in the future,” said Coach Jacque Vaughn. “I’m not big on labeling guys as point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards. I think the game has really become interchangeable and having versatility is a premium.”
– Conrad Brunner