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Pacers expect Granger to practice this week

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)

Unbeaten Indiana could soon be getting a boost from Danny Granger.

The injured 6-foot-9 swingman is expected to work out Tuesday and could return to practice as early as Wednesday, coach Frank Vogel said before Monday night's game against Memphis.

Granger, a former All-Star, has yet to play in a game this season because of a strained left calf, and Vogel was cautious about establishing a timetable for Granger's return to game action. Clearly, they haven't missed him much.

The NBA's last unbeaten team is off to the best start in franchise history (7-0) and four games in five days last week - something Vogel said he had never before been part of.

''I think it's really a new beginning to the process of getting him game minutes and his game-timing back in his legs,'' Vogel said when asked to update Granger's status. ''I'm not sure when his return date will be.''

The fact that Granger is about to start practicing, though, is an encouraging sign. He missed all but five games last season because of a tendon injury in his left knee, and hasn't played in nearly a month after injuring his left calf. The day before the season opener, Indiana said Granger would miss three weeks.

Indiana intended to keep Granger out until he was pain free.

Granger said last month that he did not expect this injury to linger like last season's injury, though he did acknowledge that he wanted to make sure he was healthy.

What Granger will add to the mix is length and scoring punch. He led the Pacers in scoring each season from 2007-08 through 2011-12, and Vogel is hoping he will help create more defensive problems for opponents because of his long wingspan.

The Pacers are already allowing a league-low 85.3 points per game and have limited opponents to a league-low field goal shooting (38.9).

Vogel also faces a dilemma with how to work Granger back into the lineup.

Lance Stephenson, who replaced Granger as the starter last season, is off to the best start of his career, averaging 14.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists. And Vogel certainly doesn't want to mess with success.

''I'll probably have a time frame for him (Granger) for a number of games where he'll get some of the minutes that Orlando Johnson and Solomon Hill are getting,'' Vogel said. ''Then we'll go from there.''

Tagged: Pacers, Danny Granger

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