Stephenson’s back injury will keep him out vs Portland; Granger to start
The Pacers will be without electrifying shooting guard Lance Stephenson Friday night when the Portland Trail Blazers make their only appearance to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The game, which tips at 7 p.m. EST, will air nationally on ESPN.
Stephenson suffered a lower back bruise in the Pacers’ win in Atlanta on Tuesday, but he exited the game in the third quarter after a nasty fall (watch below). Since, the fourth-year guard said he’s had an awful time time sleeping because the pain “hurts all day.”
He was held out of practice on Thursday and participated in part of shootaround Friday morning but it wasn’t loosening up.
“It was feeling tighter as he went on so he’s going to be out,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
That means Danny Granger will start in his place for the second time this season. Stephenson also missed the Pacers’ game in Atlanta on Jan. 8 because of a right knee contusion.
Coach Vogel said Rasual Butler and Solomon Hill will help fill Granger’s bench minutes. Third-string point guard Donald Sloan, who’s appeared in 23 games this season, may also get some time.
“We could see C.J. [Watson] and George [Hill] together,” Vogel said. “That’s what’s probably what’s most likely to take place.”
Watch how Stephenson’s injury occurred in the media player below:
The Trail Blazers, who are on a four-game road trip, will be without backup point guard Mo Williams.
Mo Williams has left the #Blazers for family reasons. His sister has been ill. Earl Watson will assume Mo’s minutes at backup PG vs Pacers.
— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) February 7, 2014