Pacers' O'Brien picks Rush to fill in for injured Granger
(Indystar) - Mike Wells
Indiana Pacers swingman Brandon Rush did a double take after he heard what coach Jim O'Brien had to say.
Rush will start the final two preseason games -- tonight at Minnesota and Friday at Chicago -- because Danny Granger is out with an ankle injury. O'Brien said he wants to continue using Paul George as the first wing player off the bench.
"I was real surprised when I found out I would be starting," Rush said. "I thought I was done playing because of my suspension."
Granger is expected to return in time for the season opener, Oct. 27 at San Antonio.
Rush is playing his final two games for several weeks due to a five-game regular-season suspension stemming from three positive drug tests.
"I want to give (Rush) a chance to be in a role that he was used in last year," O'Brien said. "These are his last chances to get to play. We'll see where he is and what he can give us in these last two games."
O'Brien might have started George if it were later in the season. But George is still adapting to his role as primary wing reserve.
O'Brien plans to go with a three-man rotation on the wing -- Granger, George and Mike Dunleavy -- during the regular season.
"I'm comfortable with coming off the bench," George said. "I'm still trying to learn things myself. This gives me a chance to observe what's going on amongst the starters and how certain guys play on the other team. I'll have a better feel for things when I check in the game."
Rush has only played 38 minutes during the preseason. He did not appear in the past two games because O'Brien had said he would use rotation players in the final four preseason games.
"I'll probably be a little rusty," Rush said. "I should be OK once I make a few shots. I want to go out there and give them something to remember for when I get back from my suspension."
Veterans Dahntay Jones and James Posey were also options to replace Granger in the starting lineup. But O'Brien knows what he will get out of Posey, and Jones, who is on the trade block, does not fit in with the offensive scheme due to his lack of productivity from the perimeter.
The Pacers were outscored by 17 points during the five minutes Jones was on the court in last week's game against New Orleans.
"We'll use James, we'll use Dahntay and we'll hopefully use Lance (Stephenson) at that spot," O'Brien said. "We'll give everybody a good look at it in the last two games."
Stephenson goes to court
Stephenson is scheduled to appear in a New York court today to face charges stemming from an alleged incident with his girlfriend in August.
Prosecutors said Stephenson pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs, grabbed her and slammed her head on the bottom step. He faces several charges, including felony assault, which carries a minimum seven-year sentence.
Stephenson is scheduled to fly to Minneapolis immediately after the hearing.
Granger misses team plane
Granger posted several messages on Twitter about missing the team flight to Minneapolis on Monday when his car was towed for having expired tags.
"Yep. . . They just took my car lol. . . Now I'm standing on the interstate lookin like an idiot lol," Granger wrote on his page.
Pacers pick up options
The Pacers announced they picked up the $1.8 million option on forward Tyler Hansbrough and the $1.2 million option on point guard Darren Collison for the 2011-12 season.