Danny Granger left Conseco Fieldhouse without comment Monday afternoon. But how he left the arena, and where he was going, said a lot.
After watching practice from the sideline with his bruised right heel in ice, Granger left the practice court on crutches, bypassing the media and saying only, "I've got to go get my MRI."
The results of that MRI led the Pacers to announce Tuesday that Granger will miss a minimum of four-to-six weeks with a torn right plantar fascia (the tissue that supports the arch of the foot).
"No surgery will be required," said the advisory issued by the team, "and rehabilitation begins immediately."
Even before he knew the results of the MRI, Coach Jim O'Brien said Monday after practice he was preparing to be without the team's leading scorer for awhile.
"That's my mindset," O'Brien said. "I'd like to be pleasantly surprised, but I'm preparing for the worst."
Granger's absence will deal a major blow to a struggling offense. He's the team's leading scorer (24.4) and biggest 3-point threat. In fact, other than Granger (who's hitting .356 from the arc), the Pacers are shooting 27.1 percent.
The most likely candidates to replace Granger in the lineup will be either Brandon Rush or Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy has been limited to roughly 20 minutes in his first five games since returning from a length rehab from knee surgery.
"We're going to have to (adjust) because he's our leading scorer," said T.J. Ford. "That's 20-something points that'll be gone. Collectively, it's not one individual that's going to be able to make up those points. It's going to take multiple people to make up for it.
"It gives the next person an opportunity to step up. You've got a lot of guys, Brandon Rush, Luther Head, guys you have to call upon to come out and be productive. So this'll give those guys an opportunity."
Granger, who has been bothered by the heel bruise since the preseason, aggravated the problem early in the third quarter Saturday night in the Pacers' 88-72 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles. On a drive into the middle, he pulled up lame, lost the ball and dropped to the floor. He was helped off the court by trainers Josh Corbeil and Carl Eaton and did not return to the game.
Granger missed the Pacers' 86-73 victory over the Clippers on Nov. 25 in Conseco Fieldhouse with a sprained knee. The Pacers are 14-8 all-time in games Granger has missed.