Four Pacers starters to sit in third preseason game

UPDATE: Oct. 9 — Pacers also say that Lance Stephenson and Domantas Sabonis will also be held out.

Darren Collison will be the only starter to play Monday in Detroit (7:00 pm) for the Pacers’ third preseason game.

“I’m going to change my rotation,” coach Nate McMillan said after practice on Sunday. “I want to get Ike [Anigbogu] and Al [Jefferson] and some of other guys some minutes.”

Collison will play about 12 minutes, and the other four starters will still join the team for the trip. There is a team dinner planned for Sunday night.

The Pacers’ first three exhibition games have all been on the road, with the final tune-up game set for Tuesday (Oct. 9). It falls on the second night of a back-to-back, so there’s no reason for the team to push its key players during the preseason.

The usual starting five will indeed play at home on Tuesday (7:00 pm) in their preseason finale against Maccabi Haifa of Israel.

[FOX Sports Indiana will televise two Pacers preseason games]

McMillan said he has an idea of who we wants to start on Monday, and noted that it would include Jefferson at center and likely T.J. Leaf at power forward.

“I think (Leaf) can play some three,” he said. “I think his IQ is high enough to be able to adjust to the three, but what we don’t want to do is confuse him early. I want him to focus at the four … learning that spot. He’s more comfortable at that possession.”

Second-round pick Ike Anigbogu has not yet played in the preseason. He only recently began participating in full-court scrimmages, still nursing a tweaked right knee. He is expected to play and be on a minutes restriction.

Players who will benefit from an additional opportunity: Jefferson, Leaf, Anigbogu, Joe Young, Alex Poythress, Jarrod Uthoff, and Ben Moore.

“All of those guys have been working hard in training camp,” McMillan added. “We want to get them some minutes.”

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