Ordinarily, the bad news doesn't start coming in until the NBA season begins, but it seems the poor Indiana Pacers just can't catch a break right now.
One of the few bright spots in the 2009-2010 season, second round pick AJ Price (7.3 ppg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 rpg in 56 games) fractured his knee cap during a charity game in New York and just underwent successful surgery. He will be out for 4-6 months.
Let's be honest here -- no one was expecting Price to be the future of the Pacers at the point guard position, but the kid had (has) potential. Let's just hope Price can recover within 4 rather then 6 months (which would mean he'll miss the start of next season). And that's not factoring into account the time it will take him to get back into shape and get his legs back under him. It seems his sophomore season will be a difficult one even before it begins.
If Price is out for part of the season or if he's ineffective when he returns, where does that leave the struggling Pacers? With Earl Watson likely to leave as a free agent, that just leaves TJ Ford behind. Who knows, maybe this will be a good thing, something that will allow Ford to find himself again after a shocking season where he screwed up the team's chemistry, looked for his own shot all the time and rarely passed the ball. This is a contract year for him so the incentives will definitely be there.
Will this also affect the upcoming NBA draft? Will the Pacers be looking for a point guard more than ever now, or will a trade or signing for forthcoming? Either way, Pacers fans need to keep expectations in check. It is highly unlikely that anyone the team gets will be able to turn this franchise around immediately.