Ian Mahinmi a game-time decision vs Clippers

Ian Mahinmi says his ankle is getting better but admits that “it’s possible” that he misses his third straight game on Tuesday with the Los Angeles Clippers in town.

The Pacers’ starting center will continue to be evaluated and still must be cleared by the team’s medical staff. During Monday’s practice, Mahinmi simply warmed up and did “a little bit” of work.

“There’s a 50 percent chance he plays,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. “I can’t really give you any more than that.”

Clippers forward Blake Griffin is not with the team.

Mahinmi’s left ankle swelled up after he rolled it last Tuesday in Phoenix, but says it improved over the weekend.

“The swelling is under control and obviously we’re working only my strength right now,” he said on Monday.

“Just a bad sprained ankle. You got to deal with the sweeping, and then you have to deal with the strength. There’s a lot of stuff going on right now in my ankle but I’m getting better.”

The Pacers, who have lost six of their last eight games, have missed Mahinmi’s rim protection and presence inside. He was fighting through a heel injury prior to this latest issue. (His heel is no longer an issue, he said.)

“Well, he’s one of the best defensive centers in the league,” Vogel said of Mahinmi. “It’s that simple. His rim protection, his pick-and-roll coverages, his ability to use his mobility to get back to big shooters, but he’s also a great finisher offensively for us.”

Beginning on Tuesday, the Pacers play four consecutive games at home, and seven of nine before the All-Star break.

UPDATE: 5:18 p.m. ET on Tuesday

Frank Vogel said during his pregame media availability that Ian Mahinmi will indeed play, but is limited to six-minute stretches. He will start.

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