NBA Roundtable

Dunleavy’s Return – Start Of Season?

In General NBA on August 19, 2009 at 8:21 am

Mike Wells of the Indy Star reports

Injured Indiana Pacers shooting guard Mike Dunleavy might be back sooner than expected, his coach said today.

“Our medical people are very pleased with his progression,” Pacers head coach Jim O’Brien said. “I’ve changed my view point to a pessimistic one from a standpoint of him being ready in the middle of the season to one that I’m hoping he’ll be ready to go for game one.”

Wow, that would be incredible news for the Indiana Pacers.

Previously, I had written off the Pacers chances to make the playoffs next season but if Indiana were able to get a near-full season of Mike Dunleavy, with him playing at a high level comparable to where he was prior to the injury, that would put them right back in the race for a low playoff seed.

Link: Mildly interesting interview with Jim O’Brien in the Indy Star. Also, another article on the Pacers’ renewed defensive focus.

  1. Dave,

    Interestingly … these were almost my exact same sentiments when first reading this news in the wee hours of this morning.

    As I think I’ve already mentioned earlier on your blog, unlike some others in the NBA landscape, count me amongst the very few who seem to like the personnel moves that Larry Bird and Co. have chosen to make this summer.

    [That said … would still have liked them to have traded TJ Ford and keep hold of Jarret Jack, instead of letting him escape to Toronto. i.e. Ford could have brought them back another highly serviceable player, IMO, with Jack and some combination of Diener, Price and/or Watson being more than adequate enough at the Back-up PG spot for this re-vamped team.]

  2. Well, Dunleavy just had his first setback

    It now appears Mike Dunleavy will not be ready to play by the Oct. 28 regular-sason opener in Atlanta.

    Both Dunleavy and Coach Jim O’Brien had expressed optimism as recently as Friday’s media day the veteran guard/forward’s rehab from major knee surgery had progressed to the point he would be able to participate in the early phases of training camp.

    But an MRI revealed what O’Brien described as a “Grade 2 strain” of a ligament behind Dunleavy’s knee that likely will keep him off the court more than a month.

    Asked when he expected to see Dunleavy at practice, O’Brien replied Sunday, “It won’t be in October.”

    “It’s different from the standpoint he has a grade two strain on the back of his ligament that could only show up in an MRI,” O’Brien said, “and it’s going to take some time for that to heal before he can get out on the basketball court.”

    After sitting out so long + now missing training camp and the start of the regular season … its going to be extremely tough for Dunleavy to return and perform at a high level next season.

    Mike Dunleavy is going to need time to play himself back into basketball shape, and then attempt to rediscover his best form … which will hurt the Pacers, and since they have a small margin for error this does make it less likely that the Pacers will be able to sustain a push for a playoff spot.

    But anyway, until Dunleavy comes back we won’t know for sure … I’m just less optimistic about his return than I was yesterday. I think training camp is been very important for a player who’s been out as long as Mike has.

  3. Dave,

    I agree on all fronts. Sustained absences from Dunleavy and Hansbrough could put the Pacers squarely behind the 8-ball.

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