- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MIAMI (AP) - Indiana forward Danny Granger left the Pacers’ Eastern Conference semifinal game against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night early in the second half with a sprained left ankle.

The Pacers said Granger would not return. Indiana will host Game 6 of the series on Thursday night.

Granger got hurt late in the first half, missing a 3-pointer with about 3 minutes left and landing on LeBron James‘ foot. Granger went down near the Heat bench, and play was stopped about 15 seconds later. Granger limped into the Indiana locker room for treatment and evaluation.

He was re-taped and warmed up at halftime, moving gingerly at times, but started the second half. About 3 minutes into the half, Granger committed a foul and went down near the Heat bench again, clearly in pain. The team announced moments after he returned to the locker room that his night was over.

Granger had a team-best 10 points when he departed.

Granger was at the center of a number of incidents throughout the series, and got technical fouls in Games 2, 3 and 4 after various dustups with Heat players. And going into Game 5, even with the series knotted up, what he was doing was a talking point for both teams.

The back-and-forth varied greatly, depending on perspective. The Heat said Granger was instigating, trying to disrupt Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The Pacers said Granger is sticking up for his teammates and showing that Indiana isn’t intimidated of the reigning East champs.

“Whatever he’s trying is not working,” James said before Game 5. “I don’t know if he’s trying to do it for his own self-confidence. He’s told you guys already, `I’m not scared of LeBron. I want to let him know.’ So I guess he’s doing it for his own psyche. I don’t know. It’s stupid.”

Countered Granger, also before Game 5: “A little trash talking won’t get them off their game.”

But when he turned the ankle, Indiana appeared to be off its game.

The Heat outscored Indiana 8-2 the rest of the half after Granger got hurt, with James _ who had been guarded for much of the series by Indiana’s best scorer _ scoring seven of them.

James opened the burst with a 3-pointer, stole the ball from David West and dunked for a seven-point lead with 26 seconds left, then capped the half by coming up with a defensive rebound, passing to Wade, getting the ball back just before the halftime horn sounded and laying it in to send Miami into the break with a 49-40 edge.

It was 56-45 when Granger left for good, and the Heat quickly stretched the margin to 18 points in three-plus minutes following his departure.

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