The Chicago Bulls received a bit of good news today at the expense of the Pacers, as Indiana announced small forward Danny Granger will miss three months after receiving an injection in his left knee to treat patellar tendinosis.
Granger played in the Pacers' first two preseason games but complained of pain, and originally was told he could play through the pain and suffer no further damage.
The Pacers have struggled without their leading scorer from a year ago, starting the season 2-2 with wins over Toronto and Sacramento. The Pacers gave the Bobcats their first win in 24 games last Friday and were blown out by San Antonio, 101-79, on Monday.
Indiana will be forced to rely on Paul George, Gerald Green and Lance Stephenson on the wing in Granger's absence, while the Bulls all of a sudden find themselves in a much better situation at grabbing their third straight Central division title.
The Pacers are as deep a team as there is in the East, but they went 1-3 without Granger last season, including a 92-87 loss to the Derrick Rose-less Bulls in late April.
Granger will miss the teams' first meeting on Dec. 4 and again on Dec. 26 in Indiana, while the Bulls go at it without their own star in Rose.
The two teams meet twice in March, when Granger should be back in the Pacers' lineup. It's unknown when Rose will return, though a March return would be on course with speculative reports regarding his rehabilitation.
The Bucks, following wins over the Celtics and Cavaliers, lead the Central through the season's first week at 2-0.
The Bulls (3-1), Cavaliers (2-2) and Pacers (2-2) trail, while the Detroit Pistons (0-4) are one of two winless teams left in the NBA (Washington).
Jake Arrieta had a 2015 season for the ages, and was rewarded for it by winning the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the fifth player in Cubs history to accomplish that feat.
He's also been nominated for a pair of ESPY awards because of it: best breakthrough athlete and best MLB player.
After struggling to find his groove in four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (20-25, 5.46 ERA), Arrieta turned it around in Chicago, particularly in 2015 when he erupted for a 22-6 record with a 1.77 ERA.
The Cubs ace followed that up in 2016 by jumping out to a 9-0 start, and went nearly a calendar year without a loss.
He's also one of 26 pitchers in MLB history to have thrown more than one no-hitter, and did so 11 starts apart from each other.
The voting ends at 7 p.m. CT on July 13, when the ESPY Awards will take place. Cast your vote here.
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but Pau Gasol is hitting the market.
Gasol told the Bulls that he has declined his option for the 2016-17 season and will become a free agent, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The 35-year-old signed a three-year, $22.3 million deal with the Bulls in the summer of 2014.
In two seasons with the Bulls, he averaged 17.6 points per game and 11.4 rebounds and made an All-Star appearance.
Shortly after he collected a handful of hardware at the NHL Awards last week, including the Hart Trophy for league MVP, Patrick Kane may have another accolade coming his way.
The Blackhawks superstar has been nominated for an ESPY Award as the NHL's best player in 2016 following a season in which he set career highs in goals (46), assists (60) and points (106).
He also set a new American-born record and franchise mark by earning at least a point in 26 straight games, the longest point streak since Mats Sundin (30 games) did it in 1992-93.
Kane looks to make history with Jonathan Toews, who captured the same ESPY Award in 2015, as the first set of teammates to have won in back-to-back years.
The four other nominees are Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Washington's Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin, and San Jose's Joe Pavelski.
The winner will be selected on July 13 at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles. Click here to cast your vote.