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).