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Pacers watch knees around Battier

The SportsXchange

The Indiana Pacers added some fuel to the fire going into Game 5 of the competitive Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night with accusations of dirty tactics aimed at Miami Heat forward Shane Battier.

Pacers forward David West and center Roy Hibbert expressed concern about their knees and those of teammates when Battier is on the floor.

"I (learned) to always have my guard up and protect my knees," West said, according to ESPN.com. "(Battier) has got this funny way of moving into your knees. We're very conscious of that. We talk about making sure we protect our knees."

West, however, backed off on saying there is intent to injure on Battier's part.

"It's an irritant when guys are bearing into your knees," he said. "I'm doubly conscious of it having an ACL (tear) a year and a half ago. I don't know (about whether Battier is trying to hurt someone), I just know the way he plays he's trying to make an impact any way he can."

Hibbert flat-out called Battier a dirty player.

"He has to do whatever he has to do to make sure his team wins," Hibbert said. "I'm going to watch my knees, watch my groin. ... To tell you the truth, I don't care. I'm in there, I'm playing tough. He has to do what he has to do. Obviously I don't like it, but it's a part of the game. I don't want to look back and say I gave in to a dirty player."

Battier has declined to discuss the Pacers' comments about his play during the first four games.

The best-of-seven series was tied 2-2 going into Game 5 in Miami.
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