Charlotte, N.C. -- Pistons veteran guard Chauncey Billups will have knee surgery to repair his right meniscus, sources told The Detroit News on Wednesday.
Billups, 37, has been in and out of the lineup since early in the season, usually held out of back-to-back games to preserve his health. This injury isn’t thought to be season-ending or career-threatening.
The recovery time on meniscus surgeries certainly vary, as younger guards Derrick Rose (Chicago), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) and Eric Bledsoe (Phoenix) have all suffered from different forms of the same injury.
Rose suffered the injury in November and will miss the rest of the season, Westbrook missed the remainder of the 2013 playoffs with a torn right meniscus and has had two more procedures since, being slated to return Thursday after being out since Dec. 27. Bledsoe has been out since Dec. 30 and the prognosis on his return looks optimistic in the coming weeks.
Even though Billups is a much older player than those three, it’s believed the surgery won’t be as invasive and Billups should be back to playing in short order.
“Not even close (to Rose and Westbrook),” one of the sources told The Detroit News.
Billups signed a two-year, $5 million deal (2014-15 is a team option) this offseason to return to the Pistons, a franchise that gave him a shot in 2002 to lead a team. Billups then led the Pistons to the 2004 NBA championship, another Finals appearance a year later, and six straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals from 2003-08.
His voice in the locker room is certainly strong, as the Pistons are one of the youngest teams in the NBA, and he began the season starting at shooting guard alongside Brandon Jennings, to provide shooting and leadership.
It all went to plan in the first game of the season, when he saved a drowning Pistons team against a charging Wizards club with two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, finishing with 16 points and five assists in 31 minutes.
It was thought he would’ve been able to steal a few crucial games for a team looking to find its way, but age and injury have certainly limited his opportunities.
Billups has appeared in 19 games this season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 assists in 16.3 minutes, shooting a career-low 30 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range.
No worries for Bynum
With the trade deadline approaching at 3 p.m. Thursday, the Pistons aren’t expected to do much, even though they’re seemingly within striking distance of the playoffs. It usually brings about a time of anxiety, and Will Bynum has been around long enough to see players affected by it.
“It worries a lot of people. People have family here and situations and they kind of tend to emotionally get involved when they shouldn’t be,” Bynum said. “It should be strictly business. That’s how I approach it.
“Emotion comes with family (but) this is business. If you have to move on, you adjust.”
Bynum’s name was lightly thrown about in trade rumors but nothing materialized. As was the case with Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva and even Greg Monroe, who admitted things sort of got to him in the beginning.
Every year Bynum goes through this and every year he seems to have the same disposition.
“I don’t really have (a strategy). It doesn’t matter to me,” Bynum said. “I can play basketball anywhere. I’ve been anywhere, been successful everywhere. It’s part of the business side. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”