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Pacers F Granger done for the season

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Danny Granger's season is ending the same way it began in Indiana - with a sore left knee that will require more medical treatment.

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The team announced Thursday that Granger would miss the rest of the season so he could undergo surgery on the bothersome knee that has slowed him since last year's playoffs.

``He's at peace with it,'' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said in Dallas before a game against the Mavericks. ``He's disappointed, but you have to make the best decision.''

The move comes just two days after Vogel told reporters he expected Granger to return during the current four-game road trip.

``These games will be sort of his rehab assignments and we're going to manage it the way we did before, with 15 or 20 minutes per game,'' Vogel told reporters after Tuesday's practice.

But instead of getting Granger back, the former All-Star consulted with the team's medical staff and Dr. James Andrews, the noted sports physician. Together they decided that after spending most of the season treating the injury conservatively, surgery was now the best remaining option.

Granger sat out the entire first half of the season with patellar tendinosis after undergoing a second injection to treat the injury in October. He returned for five games in February, coming off the bench each time and averaging 5.4 points, before the knee flared up again. He hasn't played since and Vogel knew time was running short for Granger to make a significant contribution in the playoffs.

``We know we can win without Danny in the lineup,'' Indiana forward Paul George said. ``As much as we do want Danny back, our mindset is still to prepare to win in the playoffs.''

The Pacers say Granger should be healthy for the start of training camp.

Indiana will now continue the bid for its first Central Division title without its top scorer over each of the previous five seasons. Without him, the Pacers (45-27) have built a five-game lead over Chicago in the division chase and are just percentage points behind the New York Knicks in the race for the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed.

The Pacers got a boost Thursday night with the return of power forward David West, who missed six straight games with a sprained lower back. West was in the starting lineup against Dallas. Starters George Hill (strained left groin) and Lance Stephenson (strained right hip flexor) both returned to the lineup at Houston after missing Monday night's game against Atlanta.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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