Granger out 3 months; Pacers' loss could be Bulls' gain

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Granger out 3 months; Pacers' loss could be Bulls' gain

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).

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

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USA TODAY

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

It's been a tough week for the teams at the top of the Big Ten standings.

Maryland and Wisconsin both lost earlier this week, and Purdue lost on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, the horrors continued for the Terps, who suffered their third straight defeat in a blowout 83-69 loss to the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes in College Park.

Maryland's last lead came near the midway point of the first half before Iowa sprinted away on a 22-10 run to build a double-digit lead, an advantage that grew as big as 22 in the final minutes. All in all, the Hawkeyes knocked down 16 3-pointers. The Terps weren't too far behind with 11 deep balls of their own, but they shot just 40.7 percent in the second half, unable to keep up.

The high-scoring Hawkeyes were powered by freshman Jordan Bohannon, who scored 24 points on a whopping eight made 3-pointers. Fellow freshman Tyler Cook joined him with a 20-point night, finishing with 21 points, while Peter Jok and Nicholas Baer each ended with 11.

Iowa, not completely out of the NCAA tournament realm of possibility, helped its shaky case greatly with this victory.

Maryland, meanwhile, is a lock to make the field of 68 teams, but much like the other presumed conference powers, its struggles are hitting at the most inopportune time.

The Terps have lost five of their last seven and three of their last four at home. Back-to-back home losses this week against Minnesota and Iowa have featured big days for opposing offenses. Prior to the Hawkeyes' performance Saturday, the Golden Gophers dropped 89 points on 50-percent shooting.

The woes of Maryland — plus those of Purdue and Wisconsin — set up not just an interesting final week of the regular season but an interesting Big Ten Tournament that could feature a dark horse like Minnesota entering as the favorite. A surging team like Michigan might be more capable of making a deep run than the top three seeds given their recent struggles.

The Terps will have as good a chance as any to make noise in that tournament and the one that follows throughout the month of March. Winnable games against Rutgers and Michigan State remain, but they're on a bad stretch right now, one that should only elevate the panic after Saturday's defeat.

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox held Brett Lawrie out Saturday after he reported discomfort in the same left leg that sidelined him for the final 2 1/2 months of 2016.

The second baseman has been a full participant the entire spring until he informed manager Rick Renteria what he was experiencing Saturday. 

"We're going to reevaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at," Renteria said. "He didn't feel quite right, and so he was in there earlier today getting treatment. We'll reevaluate tomorrow and make a determination where we're at in terms of trying to set some parameters for how we move forward."

A confusing, tricky series of injuries that Lawrie blamed on wearing orthotics limited him to 94 games last season. He hit the disabled list on July 22 and didn't discover the cause until after the season ended. But Lawrie reported to camp feeling healthy once again and has participated at 100 percent until this point, Renteria said.

"It's been good," Renteria said. "Everything has been clean. There have been no notifications anything had been amiss. He just woke up this morning and felt it. So we're going to be very cautious, take it a day at a time, reevaluate it and see where we're at."