Having just completed the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year holiday triumvirate, there's one more big date circled on the calendars of Pacers fans.
Tuesday is Four Week Day.
That's right, four weeks ago Tuesday, the Pacers announced Danny Granger would miss four-to-six weeks with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.
Granger hopes to mark the occasion by participating in his first practice since the injury in Tuesday morning's shootaround but don't expect him to be in uniform for that night's game against Orlando – or any time this week.
"I'm doing good," Granger said after a light workout Monday at Conseco Fieldhouse. "I'm going to start practicing on a limited basis. I'm really not that far away right now it's just a matter of getting my legs back, getting my conditioning and being cautious with it to make sure everything's OK.
"I can run and jump, it's just what I do and how long I do it may cause some soreness in my foot until it's fully healed. That's the scenario we're dealing with – how hard I can go, how long I can go and still let my foot continue to heal."
If he's able to handle the shootaround load it will give the medical staff a benchmark "because that'll be my first time actually doing something fully," Granger said.
To say the Pacers have missed Granger would be an understatement.
They have gone 4-11 since his injury was diagnosed, including embarrassing losses by 34 in Miami and by 43 in New York on Sunday night. An offense built on 3-point shooting has been severely hampered by the absence of the NBA's most prolific shooter. Granger leads the league in 3-pointers attempted (8.6) and made (3.1) per game. He ranks ninth in scoring (24.4).
To say Granger has missed playing would be also be an understatement.
He is battling the instinct to hurry back to the court as quickly as possible because his team is in need. But he also knows to come back to soon is to risk further injury and hamper his ability to help.
"I think the trainers might have to pull me back by the reins a little bit," he said with a smile. "They have a better understanding of when I'll be ready to go fully than I think that I do because, in my mind, it's going to be sooner than later. But you've always got to go with what the doctors say.
"It's very hard, it's extremely hard, especially after last night, that type of game. It's frustrating but it happens in the NBA. There's still a lot of season left and we're not that far out of the playoffs."
Granger remains optimistic that with his return and those of Troy Murphy (out the last three games with a sprained ankle), Jeff Foster (out the last eight with a back injury) and Tyler Hansbrough (out the last four with an inner ear infection), the Pacers can rebound and climb into the thick of the playoff battle in the East.
"Definitely," he said. "I'm relied upon heavily to score. Murph is a very potent weapon. We don't have Tyler and we don't know what the situation is with Jeff. We have a lot of guys that usually play a lot of minutes that are not playing. There's definitely hope."