Rodney Stuckey has a screw in his thumb, and had that not been put in place, he would've missed up to eight weeks of action. He hopes to be back in three. (Clarence Tabb, Jr. / Detroit News)
Auburn Hills — Rodney Stuckey discovered last week that it’s hard to walk away from your car without all five fingers, especially if your thumb is stuck in the door.
Such a bizarre thing happened to the seventh-year guard as that jolt of pain was indeed a reminder “(bleep) happens,” in Stuckey’s words. He had to open the car door to remove the thumb — then the pain kicked in.
“Just a fluke accident. At first I didn’t know because it was stuck in the door, as I was trying to walk away,” Stuckey said. “I was like, ‘Oh (bleep),’ and when I opened the door, that’s when all the pain started. It happens. (Stuff) like this happens.”
If it weren’t so damaging, Stuckey would probably laugh about the incident, as he was anything but despondent when talking to reporters after Tuesday’s practice. He wasn’t jovial, but very matter-of-fact in his approach — almost thankful it wasn’t worse.
Stuckey has a screw in his thumb, and had that not been put in place, he would’ve missed up to eight weeks of action. He hopes to be back in three.
With the lineup of Stuckey and Brandon Jennings out — who could’ve been the starting guards — Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Singler and Peyton Siva will receive extended playing time.
“We have a lot of wing players who can step up, Will’s a good point guard,” Stuckey said. “We’re really deep so we have no worries. We just have to get healthy.”
Jennings will miss at least three weeks with a wisdom tooth issue and fractured jaw. Stuckey hopes to be back on opening night, but wasn’t dwelling on the timing of it all. It occurred the same day Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks was singing Stuckey’s praises about his performance in training camp thus far.
Whether it was Cheeks playing to the psychology of having to coach Stuckey, no one knows, but Stuckey is entering as important a year individually as this franchise is as a whole, as it expects to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Stuckey, whether as a starter or one of the first players off the bench, will be a big part of that happening if it occurs. Until then, he’ll be monitored by strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander, who’s a busy man these days with the aforementioned injuries as well as treating injuries to the recovering Siva and rookie Luigi Datome.
Stuckey will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time this summer, which usually brings about guys playing their best and most consistent basketball, something Pistons fans have been begging for Stuckey to do in the past few years.
“I can’t sit here and beat myself up. Stuff like this happens every day. Who knew? I didn’t,” Stuckey said. “My hand just got caught. I’ll keep working, stay in shape, working on my body. Once I can start dribbling a ball and doing things like that I’ll be ready.”
The Pistons will play the Bulls and Cavaliers on back-to-back nights on the road starting tonight, giving Cheeks a chance to see how his team fares against divisional opponents.
With the Bulls in Chicago, Derrick Rose will likely play after sitting out an early exhibition game with knee soreness after a long flight to Rio. Rose’s missing the entire 2012-13 season (torn ACL) was a huge topic of discussion among many NBA observers and there appeared to be a divide between Rose’s camp and Bulls management.
Cheeks, like Rose, hails from Chicago and he hopes Rose, the 2011 MVP, returns to his previous form.
“They did it the way they felt was right,” Cheeks said. “So far, I haven’t seen him play. I’m sure he’s healthy to play. Hopefully it’ll work out for them.”