It's still a mystery as to when Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger will make his season debut, but he has been practicing with the team and should return soon.
The Pacers are hoping Granger, who has been sidelined all season with a balky knee, can see some action Wednesday versus the Charlotte Bobcats. If not, he will most likely debut after the All-Star break versus the New York Knicks.
Granger looked back to form in a recent practice video on the Pacers' official website and coach Frank Vogel told IndyStar.com that he would like to see the New Mexico product get playing time versus the Bobcats. Granger would most likely come off the bench to work on his timing and rhythm before inserting him into the starting lineup.
"He said he felt really good," Vogel said after practice. "Couple of movements he felt like he was still getting his confidence back to explode. No pain or anything. Just normal recovering type of stuff in your first live action."
When Granger does return, it will only make the Pacers that much bigger and longer. They are currently riding a two-game slide after winning five straight and dropped 0-2 on a five-game homestand with Monday's 89-84 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets. It was Indiana's second straight overtime loss as it had a 15-game home winning streak stopped in Friday's setback to Toronto.
Against the Nets, George Hill scored 22 points and both Lance Stephenson and Jeff Pendergraph added 14 points. David West, one game after scoring 30 points versus the Raptors, was held to seven points against Brooklyn. All-Star Paul George delivered 26 points in the defeat to Toronto and followed that performance with just five.
"We tried to tell the service people in the gym to take the lid off the rim," Hill said tongue in cheek. "Today was that day that things just didn't fall. You can't be upset about it. We got great looks, especially late in the game."
The Central-leading Pacers have now dropped back-to-back home games for the first time in a year (last Feb. 11-14) and are 20-5 in Indy this season.
Indiana still has New York and Detroit left to play on the homestand.
Meanwhile, Charlotte looks to put the brakes on a six-game road losing streak in the opener of a short two-game trek Wednesday.
The Bobcats were able to stop a seven-game slide with a 94-91 win over a tired Boston squad at home as Byron Mullens recorded 25 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to lead the charge. Ramon Sessions put the Bobcats ahead for good with a late jumper after the Celtics grabbed a short-lived lead and ended with 19 points.
"This was a good win for us, especially with the Celtics coming in with a really good win streak." Mullens said after halting Boston's streak at seven.
Mullens has two double-doubles in his last three games. Kemba Walker scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds, handed out six assists and had three steals.
Charlotte will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since November and will also visit the Orlando Magic. The Bobcats are just 5-20 as the guest.
The Bobcats have lost two of three meetings with Indiana this season and 13 of the past 16 matchups in this series. Charlotte hasn't fared any better in Indiana, losing eight in a row there.