Indiana Pacers forward David West’s absence from the lineup because of a sprained lower back will extend into the weekend and likely into next week.
West missed Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, didn’t travel to Chicago for tonight’s game against the Bulls and coach Frank Vogel said it’s unlikely he’ll play in Monday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
West suffered the injury against the Philadelphia 76ers last weekend.
He’s had difficulty walking at times this week.
“He’s walking better,” Vogel said. “Each day it’s been getting better, but not to a level where he can play yet. They’re treating it every day. He needs time to heal.”
It seems like West’s style of play – banging in the post and using his body to get separation – puts him in a tough position because of his back.
“The trainers haven’t led me to believe it’s more of a concern and his style of play,” Vogel said. “Obviously, logical thinking would say you have to be cautious with it.”
Granger may return
Vogel said swingman Danny Granger, out for all but five games this season, won’t play in Monday’s game against the Hawks, but there’s a possibility that he could play during the team’s four-game West Coast road trip next week.
The Pacers play at Houston, Dallas, Phoenix and the Los Angeles during the trip.
Granger practiced for about 20 minutes on Thursday.
“He looked like he hadn’t played in a few weeks, still some rust there,” Vogel said. “It’s going to take time to get his rhythm and timing back.”
Getting his chance
West’s injury has allowed Jeff Pendergraph to move into the backup power forward spot behind Tyler Hansbrough.
Vogel said not playing Pendergraph this season has been one of his toughest decisions, because he deserved more minutes.
“It’s been one of my biggest challenges since I’ve been here, trying to find minutes for guys who deserve to play,” Vogel said. “(Pendergraph’s) situation is probably the most challenging. He’s a heck of a basketball player and he’s an incredibly refreshing attitude in the locker room. I’m always happy to get him extended minutes.”
Pendergraph, like any competitive athlete, admits it’s been tough waiting his turn to play. But he’s never voiced any displeasure, instead being the ultimate teammate. He’s appeared in 28 games this season.
“Having D West out is unfortunate, but his health is our main priority,” Pendergraph said. “We want him to be healthy for the playoffs. I have to use this opportunity to help our team with him being down.
“I’ve been very patient through it all. With my wife being pregnant, that’s something that’s definitely helped ease any frustrations I may have had about not playing.”
Call Star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053.