Indiana Pacers swingman Mike Dunleavy has never been this close to making the playoffs in his nine-year career.

But the Pacers easily could be on the outside looking in by the time he returns from his broken left thumb.

The Pacers went into Friday's game at Toronto losers of five straight games and barely holding on to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

"It's difficult," Dunleavy said. "Here we are, coming down the home stretch and I have to sit on the sidelines and just cheer. It's definitely not what I was looking for. You have to make the most of it and hopefully I can get back soon."

Dunleavy broke his thumb Feb. 22 at Washington. The team said at the time that he would be out 6-to-8 weeks.

Dunleavy is hoping to return sooner than that.

"I think it can be sped up a little bit," he said. "I'm going back in a few weeks to get an X-ray to see how it's healing. Right now we're sticking to the original time frame. We'll see how it goes."