O'Neal injured during practice
Pacers say he has mild sprain of ankle, might miss tonight's game
By Mike Wells
Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal had to be helped to the locker room after injuring his left ankle in practice Monday.
The Pacers are listing the injury as a mild sprain, but it's possible that O'Neal will miss tonight's game against the Atlanta Hawks.
"We'll see how he is (today)," coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's the same ankle that has been bothering him. He's had repeated mild sprains in this ankle and a couple of severe ones."
O'Neal missed three games last season with a sprained left ankle and this season missed a game in November and has left a couple of others for stretches with an ankle injury.
Carlisle said he will wait to decide who will start if O'Neal can't play tonight.
Point guard Jamaal Tinsley and swingman Marquis Daniels were also limited in practice Monday.
Tinsley, who didn't participate in any contact drills, has been dealing with a bruised sternum and ribs since Thursday's game at Dallas. Carlisle said there's a "good chance" Tinsley will play tonight. Tinsley wants to play in all 82 games.
Daniels also missed contact drills because of the badly jammed middle finger on his right hand. He injured the finger against the Mavericks. Daniels sat out the second half of Saturday's game against New Orleans.
"It's getting a little better," Carlisle said. "He didn't do any contact stuff (Monday) because if he gets it hit he's going to have a setback."
Constant rotation tinkering
The Pacers have played 34 games and still don't have a set rotation despite staying relatively injury free.
Carlisle has used at least nine players in every game. He's used 11 and all 12 active players 11 times each.
Daniels' minutes have fluctuated greatly, though now it looks like he could get minutes again as long as his injured finger holds up. Little-used Orien Greene was the first point guard off the bench against the Hornets on Saturday. Ten players are averaging at least 10.5 minutes a game.
"I said going into it that there are so many guys that offer different things that can help us," Carlisle said. "Some nights we'll go very deep. The other night we played all 12 and they all played when it counted. Matchups, situations, foul problems all contribute to the necessity to a deep bench." Indystar