Indiana Pacers players say they have to protect themselves, especially their knees, when Miami Heat forward Shane Battier is in the game during the Eastern Conference finals.

Ahead of Thursday's pivotal Game 5 with the series tied 2-2, Pacers big men David West and Roy Hibbert said part of the Pacers preparation for the Heat is to watch out for Battier attempting to take shots at their knees.

"I (learned) to always have my guard up and protect my knees," West said. "(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."

Earlier in the series, Hibbert accused Battier of a dirty play when Battier kneed him in the midsection on a drive to the basket. Hibbert said he is wary of Battier when he's on the floor and again called Battier a "dirty player."

"I know what (Battier) brings to the game and it's worked for him in the past. 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 say I gave in to a dirty player."