After a thrilling Game 1 versus the Heat, the Pacers went back to practice but got some bad news. Center Roy Hibbert injured his right thumb in practice which required taping but he did complete the practice session.
Hibbert, who is having postseason averages of 14.4 points, 2.5 blocks, 9.7 rebounds and shooting 47%, is expected to play despite the injury. Of course if Indiana wants any shot at upsetting the Heat, he needs to be on the court.
His size and shot-blocking ability caused much trouble for Miami in Game 1 where he blocked 2 shots and grabbed 9 rebounds in the overtime loss. However, he must be more aggressive in the paint in Game 2.
Also, he cannot be on the bench during crucial times as he was in Game 1.
Head coach Frank Vogel, for some reason, sat Hibbert when the game was on the line. A critical coaching move that may have cost the Pacers Game 1.
Hibbert, though, says he is ready to speak up should this happen again.
"I’ve grown as a player, this is my fifth year and maybe I need to start talking up more,” Hibbert told Yahoo! Sports in the losing locker room. “They pay me [max-contract money] for a reason.
“I didn’t say anything, and I wish I did. From now on, I need to speak up.”
Without Roy in the paint, it allows LeBron James to roam free and not worry about a shot-blocker in the paint. Everyone saw it in Game 1 and even Vogel knows it.
“We’ll have to evaluate and see what we’ll do the next time. I would say we’ll probably have him in next time."
Probably? Probably? No he has to be on the court Frank.
This isn't a tough decision for the Pacers head coach. Hibbert is one of the team's best defenders. Sure Chris Bosh has the ability to pull Roy away form the paint with the outside shot but I'd rather give up an outside jumper than have James waltz into the lane for an uncontested layup.
Vogel will get his shot at redeeming his error in Game 2, however, let's just hope for his and the Pacers' sake Hibbert's injury won't keep him out of any games.