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Danny Granger eyes return

INDIANAPOLIS -- Danny Granger has played in only five games over the past two seasons for the Indiana Pacers, but he's hoping to make his return this week.

Granger said he won't play in Tuesday's game against the Miami Heat and instead is targeting Friday's home game with the Charlotte Bobcats as he recovers from a calf injury that's kept him out of the team's first 21 games. He was limited to five games last season because of a knee injury.

"There's a very good chance, hopefully on Friday," Granger said. "I'm conditioning my legs, getting my wind. The knee is not an issue at all. The calf is pretty good now."

After Granger experienced several setbacks over the past year, the Pacers aren't committing themselves as strongly to the return. Last year, Granger missed three months with patella tendinitis, came back for two weeks and was shut down again. He missed the rest of the season and later needed surgery.

Granger injured his left calf in training camp and returned to play in some preseason games but had a setback and has been out six weeks. The Pacers initially expected him to miss about three weeks. Now the team is trying to avoid putting public expectations on him.

"There's no timeline for him," coach Frank Vogel said.

The Pacers have played well since losing Granger, reaching the conference finals last season and starting this season an NBA-best 18-3. Granger, who has started 423 games for the Pacers in his career, said when he returns it will be as a reserve.

"Our starting lineup is doing well right now," he said. "I'll have to get back into shape first. The advantage I bring is I've been through it for many years. I've had the lead role and scored a lot of points. The playoff experience and the situation we'll be in later down the line, the experience I bring will be invaluable."