Just over a week ago during a forgettable moment near the end of an Indiana Pacers' practice, Danny Granger ran a designed play by cutting to the basket. As he received the entry pass, Granger elevated and in the same motion tossed a soft layup towards the rim ... that Solomon Hill rejected.

Lance Stephenson razzed Granger from the sidelines and the rookie grinned. Granger just turned and walked back to his starting spot above the arc to run the play again. During that practice, Granger was playing instinctively but admittedly, he lacked self-assurance in his surgically repaired left knee.

Those concerns are diminishing now as Granger has scored in double digits in four straight games. Even more, Granger has boldly played closer to the rim – while inching closer to regaining his full confidence.

"I'm feeling good," Granger said on Sunday night, his feet soaking in a tub of ice after he scored 10 points in a season-high 26 minutes. "Not where I need to be but I'm getting there and I'm making progress

"I'm happy."

In the Pacers' 82-78 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Granger mastered the role of role player, energizing the offense in the second quarter. On the second night of a back-to-back, Granger scored a team-high seven points in the second quarter when field goals can be a rare occurance.

"We didn't come out and play," starting center Roy Hibbert said, "we were kind of flat, but our bench did a great job."

Understanding the importance of depth, Pacers coach Frank Vogel has welcomed back a healthy Granger as a key cog in the team's success.

"I think he's a necessary component to reach our goals of winning a championship," Vogel said. "To reach our goals of trying to get the No. 1 seed, come out of the East and ultimately compete for it all. I think having somebody like that right now coming off the bench, with just the depth at the wing spot with Stephenson, (Paul) George and Danny Granger … that is necessary. We're really excited about the steps he's making and getting back into the fold."

Those steps, albeit small at times, have come over a span of nearly three weeks. On Dec. 20, Granger entered his first regular-season game in nine months. During the Pacers' next game on Dec. 22, he connected on four 3-pointers, but the following night , Granger missed all seven of his attempts – some embarrassingly so, dying before they reached the rim or careening off the side of the backboard.