What do the Pacers do now?

Updated: November 23, 2004, 8:31 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
What happens when three weeks into the season, one of the top contenders for the NBA crown loses its three top scorers for the next few months?

No good. No Upside. Just lots and lots of bad.

The Very, Very Bad

INDIANA PACERS: Without Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson, it's tough to believe the Pacers have any real shot at the playoffs, let alone competing for an NBA title.

O'Neal won't return until Jan. 15. Jackson won't return until Jan. 26. With Jonathan Bender out six weeks with a knee injury and other Pacers such as Jeff Foster, Reggie Miller and Scot Pollard also nursing injuries, can the Pacers rebound?

The team had been worried for months that Artest was going to snap and be lost for the season. Now that Indiana's worst fears have been realized, how will the Pacers respond?

Despite the gloomy outlook, they do have several things going for them. In fact, they still have a route to the playoffs. Insider breaks it down.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer