INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Pacers head into Game 6 against the New York Knicks in unfamiliar territory.
Point guard George Hill is out with a concussion, NBA rules requiring him to pass a concussion test before he can play again. The Pacers have no idea whether that will come in time for tonight's potential closeout game.
Officially, the team says Hill is day-to-day.
It's a sensitive topic around Pacers headquarters, where coaches and players remain hopeful Hill will be back on the court but are preparing as if he won't be around to help.
"Learning about it at the last minute was not ideal," coach Frank Vogel said. "But as a coach you prepare for those scenarios all the time. If someone gets hurt in the first minute of the game, it's the same thing, right?"
This is not the same thing, and that became evident late Friday afternoon when the NBA posted its concussion protocol on its own website to clear up any potential discrepancies.
The policy states that any player diagnosed with a concussion must be held out of all activities until he is symptom-free at rest and they see no "appreciable" difference between the players' baseline test conducted before the season and the test after the injury.
Then the player must prove he is symptom-free as the level of exertion increases. Team doctors can then determine whether the player passes, a decision that must be discussed with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the NBA's director of the concussion program.
Hill did not attend practice Friday, and Vogel said he had not spoken with his starting point guard before the session ended.
The Pacers haven't ruled Hill out - and neither have the Knicks.
"With or without George (Hill), the pressure has got to stay the same," Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters during a conference call.
• What: Knicks at Pacers, Pacers lead series 3-2
• When: 5 p.m.
• TV: ESPN