http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...TS04/507120411

Pacers play it safe with rookie

By Mike Wells
mike.wells@indystar.com

Danny Granger's debut in an Indiana Pacers uniform could be put on hold.

The Pacers might hold out their first-round pick from this week's summer league in Minneapolis because a knee injury has not completely healed.

"His knee is structurally fine, but he's at about 80 percent strength-wise of where he needs to be," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're going to make sure his strength level gets to where it needs to be before we push it. We feel like there's no need to take that kind of risk."

Granger, the No. 17 pick in last month's NBA draft, injured his left knee in January while at the University of New Mexico. He was expected to be out several weeks after having surgery, but missed just three games.

"I came back earlier then they thought and with the draft camp and everything, I didn't have any time to rehab it," Granger said.

The Pacers, who are holding a rookie/free agent camp at Conseco Fieldhouse until Thursday, will play five games in Minnesota's summer league July 15-19.

Granger is taking part in non-contact drills and he's expected to travel to Minneapolis with the team.

"We're going to do a lot of skill-type things with him," Carlisle said. "He can do a lot of stuff; he just won't be scrimmaging."

Jones sitting, watching

Restricted free agent James Jones has watched as some of the marquee free agents have agreed to contract terms with teams around the league. He knows his time will come.

"Right now it's all about the major free agents getting their deals," Jones said from his home in Miami. "Once those guys get done, things should pick up for some of us other players. It's not discouraging."

By being a restricted free agent, the Pacers can match any offer made to Jones up to the midlevel exception, which is about $5 million a year. Jones isn't expected to get that high of an offer. Pacers officials have said they want to re-sign Jones.

Jones declined to say which teams have shown interest, but Detroit and San Antonio are believed to like the 6-8 swingman. Jones averaged 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 75 games, including 24 starts, last season.

"The Pacers are a team I want to play for," said Jones, who was a second-round pick in 2003. "They took a chance on me when other teams didn't want to and I'm grateful for that."

Going to China

Pacers assistant coach Chad Forcier is leaving for Beijing today to take part in Basketball Without Borders, a basketball camp that features 50 of Asia's top players.

"I've never gone overseas to do this type of thing before," Forcier said. "Our organization wants to take part in these types of things and this is something I want to do."

Among the NBA players expected to take part in the four-day camp, which starts Thursday, are Houston's Yao Ming and San Antonio's Tony Parker.