The Indiana forward was thought by some to be on Team USA's bubble when a New York training camp began earlier in the week. And nothing that happened early in camp changed that.
Granger suffered a partially dislocated right ring finger during Tuesday's first practice and was lost for Wednesday's second day. He wondered if his Team USA summer was over.
Hardly. After being relieved by X-rays that were negative and by an MRI that showed nothing more than a sprain, Granger was Team USA's top player in a Saturday scrimmage with China at Madison Square Garden that was closed to the public.
In 18 minutes, Granger scored 22 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots. He shot 9-of-12, including 3-of-4 from three-point range as Team USA won 98-51 in a game in which the scoreboard was reset to 0-0 before each quarter.
"I don't know if I was on the bubble or not,'' Granger said. "I think I score the ball so well. Eventually, I'm a scorer, and that's just part of my game. ... It would be definitely (hard to get rid of Granger now).''
Indeed it would. He's on the team that will play Aug. 28-Sept. 12 at the World Championship in Turkey.
With the 15 still alive needing to be cut to 12 by Aug. 26, the New York camp began with many observers believing Granger, forward Jeff Green, center JaVale McGee (who was brought back from a cut to replace Brook Lopez less than a week before the camp) and guards Eric Gordon and Stephen Curry were the five players fighting for the final two spots. Now that Granger is a lock, it looks to be those four battling for one spot.
One spot figures to go either to Gordon or Curry, with the other being cut, and Gordon now looks to have a slight lead. That battle could decide the final roster spot, with Green and McGee looking most likely to be the other two cuts.
Green is in the most danger. He didn't play a second Saturday.
"Ask Coach,'' Green told FanHouse when asked if it looks as if the writing is on the wall that he is done. "I'm not the guy to answer that question.''
Neither Green nor McGee said they had any inkling they would not play Saturday. Asked why he didn't play, McGee told FanHouse, "I don't know what it is.''
"We already know what JaVale and Jeff can do, and I wanted to see what using Tyson (Chandler) and Lamar (Odom) all the time (looked like at center),'' said coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team easily won the first three quarters before losing the fourth 17-16 when China guard Liu Wei made two free throws with 1.3 seconds left.
Asked if it might be looked at as a negative that Green and McGee didn't play, Krzyzewski said, "I don't know what a negative is.''
Krzyzewski said Team USA, which faces France in an exhibition Sunday at Madison Square Garden that is open to fans, likely will cut one or two players before the team leaves Monday for Spain, where it will play two exhibition games. He expects more than 12 players going to Europe before the final roster must be cut to 12 two days before the Aug. 28 opener in Turkey.
Green might not go to Europe, and Team USA officials must decide whether to take both Gordon and Curry or make a final decision. The Americans look to be a good bet to bring McGee to Europe as an insurance measure because he's the team's only other true center after Tyson Chandler, and Chandler is injury prone.
"We want to go through (Sunday) and not make decisions that we would regret a week from now,'' said Krzyzewski, emphasizing the importance of the games in Madrid against Lithuania and Spain followed by a game against Greece in Athens before the team gets to Turkey. "That type of situation will give us much more knowledge on how to pick the 12.''
Team USA officials want to make sure they can afford to keep just three post players in Chandler, Odom and Kevin Love, who played just four minutes Saturday due to a nagging calf injury. Krzyzewski went so far as to experiment some Saturday with forward Kevin Durant at center. If it's deemed prudent to keep McGee, it likely would result in another guard being cut, and that would be a tough decision.
Both Green and McGee told FanHouse each would have no problem traveling to Europe even if there was a strong likelihood of not making the final roster.
"We got good players,'' Green said. "If an opportunity comes, I'll be ready to play.''
In the battle between Gordon and Curry, Gordon on Saturday shot 4-of-10, including 3-of-8 from three-point range, for 15 points, second-best on the team. Curry shot 3-of-7, including 1-of-3 on three-pointers, for seven points.
Gordon also had a better game than Curry when the team had an intrasquad game in Las Vegas last month but Curry was the better player in a scrimmage last Thursday. Regardless, the game against France appears pivotal for both.
"Eric's been playing really well,'' Krzyzewski said of Gordon, who could have helped himself even more but shot an airball on a last-second play before China secured its one-point fourth-quarter win. "He's hasn't had one bad day.''
The 6-foot-8 Granger has had some bad days because of injury. He hurt his leg last month and missed a day of the Las Vegas camp and then came Tuesday's finger injury.
"Granger's a pro,'' Krzyzewski said. "Danny's done a good job. Danny in Vegas, he hurt his knee and he's out one day. And then here he hurt his finger and he's out a day. And no excuses. Dannny's a key guy for us. Because, when he does shoot the ball, you feel it's going in. He's a bigger guy. He can cover a (small forward) definitely and he'll have to cover a (power forward) at times.''
With there being a good chance Team USA will go with just three post players, Granger will be counted on to play some power forward. He's just glad he's still around after last Tuesday's scare.
"I was worried before the X-ray and the MRI,'' said Granger, playing with his fingers taped. "I partially dislocated it. So when it came out and I put it back in I was scared beause I didn't know what it was. My trainer (with the Pacers) came out the next day and we got the MRI and the X-rays and everything was fine... I definitely thought (if the injury was more serious) it would be really hard to make the team if I couldn't shoot the ball. So that was my initial reaction.''
Granger need no longer worry. But some other players have plenty to worry about, starting with Green.
NOTES: Team USA guard Derrick Rose says he gains motivation when he hears the Americans referred to as a B-team due to the many big stars not playing. "Yeah,'' Rose said when asked if he gets motivation from it. "It makes it seem like a J.V. team. in high school. but we play in the same league as those guys. We've got a lot to prove but we're going to make sure we do it in the right way.'' ... Speaking of stars who dropped out, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, from the 2008 Olympic gold-medal winning team, watched Saturday's scrimmage. Bryant politely declined a FanHouse interview request. One of his representatives said he didn't want to take away from this team. ... Players continue to stress that rebounding is a key to Team USA winning its first World Championship gold medal in 16 years. While China, whose only post player of any repute is Washington's Yi Jianlian, is not exactly a good gauge, the Americans won the board battle, 40-33.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter@christomason