The Indiana Pacers will not face elimination without their star forward Danny Granger, who is expected to play in Game 6 against the Miami Heat Thursday despite a severely sprained left ankle.
Granger’s ankle is reportedly swollen "like a small softball" after the small forward sprained it during the first half of Indiana’s Game 5 loss. The announcement has moved the spread for Game 6 from 3.5 to 2.5 at some books.
“He’s worth maybe a point or a point and a half,” John Avello, sportsbook manager for the Wynn Las Vegas, told Covers. “We’re still at three. There may be a play on him, but even though he’s worth quite a bit, he’s not going to impact the odds all too much. Miami seems to have its mojo back and the public bettors aren’t going to let (Granger) stop them from taking the Heat.”
Miami has won the last two games in convincing fashion, including a 115-83 beating as a 7-point home favorite Tuesday. The Heat lead the series 3-2 with an identical record against the spread.
Granger is averaging 17.2 points in the postseason and is Indiana’s primary defender for LeBron James, who scored 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting in Game 5. Granger told reporters he expects the reigning NBA MVP to attack his hobbled ankle.
"Logic would tell you he would," Granger said. "I know when we know a player has an injury, it's definitely in our mind and we attack it. So I'm sure he will. He's been in attack mode anyway, and I'm sure he'll be even more in attack mode knowing that I'm limited. But I rise to the challenge."
Also expected to suit up for Game 6 is Pacers forward David West, who left Game 5 with a sprained left knee.
Miami will be without reserve forwards Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman, who were suspended for Game 6 due to flagrant fouls. The Heat are already thin in the frontcourt with starting power forward Chris Bosh sidelined with an abdominal strain.
The total for Game 6 opened at 181 points and has been bet up to 182. Miami and Indiana have gone 2-3 over/under through the first five games of the second-round series.