There's some good news and some bad news for the Indiana Pacers as they head into their game against the charging Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. The good news is that starting power forward David West will likely return to the lineup after missing six games with a lower back sprain. The bad news is that Danny Granger will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the season, a day after it was announced that he would likely be ready to play against the Mavs.
The Pacers had been hoping Granger would return from a knee injury in time to help the team down the stretch and into the postseason. Indiana has struggled at times to score this year, so they certainly could have used his scoring prowess. However, the team has gotten used to playing without him, and the offense has improved of late.
The return of West should provide a boost to that improved offense, which did really well even when he was out of the lineup. The Pacers won five of the six games West missed, reaching 100 points in four of the victories. Tyler Hansbrough was solid in West's stead, with others stepping up as well to help fill the void.
Indiana will have to bring their "A" game if they want to grab a victory against Dallas, who has won nine of their last 12 games and are now just one game under .500. The Mavs' push has gotten them back into the playoff race, as they sit 1½ games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
In their last game, Dallas pulled out a thrilling 109-102 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 33 points and O.J. Mayo provided late-game heroics to help send the game to overtime. The victory gave the Mavs a 3-1 record on their six-game homestand.
In the one prior meeting between the two teams this season, the Pacers destroyed the Mavs 103-83 in Indiana on Nov. 16. West and George Hill led the way with 15 points apiece.
Tip-off on Thursday is set for 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Indiana and Fox Sports Southwest.