Pacers F Granger ready for USA camp

By Cliff Brunt, AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS Danny Granger dominated the NBA while hobbling through the final month of the season.
Now that his right knee and foot are almost fully healed, he expects to participate in the USA Basketball Men's National Team mini-camp July 22-25 in Las Vegas.

"I've been working it out, taking it slowly," Granger told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I've made great strides to the point where I think I'm going to probably play in the USA camp."

Granger played limited minutes in the All-Star game because of a right knee injury, then missed 11 games with a torn tendon in his right foot. He averaged 28.4 points the final 15 games of the season, but said he was far from ideal health at the time. He rested for six to eight weeks after the season ended, and has only been in the gym the past few weeks.

"I really wasn't 100 percent, which is why I had to take so much time off," he said. "When I do get to 100 percent, I'll be back in the groove fully."

Granger still lifted weights while he was waiting for his injuries to heal. His recovery has accelerated since he returned to the court, and now he's back to running and cutting.

"I know my body, I know my game," he said. "I know how long it takes me to get back. I've got it down to almost a science, when I'm ready to play."

At the start of the season, Granger signed a five-year, $65 million contract extension. He rewarded the team by averaging 25.8 points per game and being selected to the All-Star team for the first time. Granger was rewarded further by being named the league's Most Improved Player.

Now, he's headed to the USA mini-camp, an early step toward selecting the 2012 Olympic team.

Granger's success has made him the centerpiece of team president Larry Bird's rebuilding project, but that role also is the reason he had to be so careful about whether he'd participate in the camp. In coming weeks, he'll also need to become familiar with the team's draft picks, North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and Connecticut's A.J. Price.

Granger approved of the selections.

"As a team, we've been through a lot, and we're making changes and going in the right direction," Granger said. "We've got two great draft picks ... and we really showed our commitment to making this team better."