Pistons’ Drummond day-to-day with sprained ankle
Auburn Hills — The Pistons are already shorthanded for the first part of the season because of the injury to Reggie Jackson.
Now they have another name to add to the injury list: Andre Drummond.
Drummond suffered a sprained right ankle in the first half of Saturday’s win at Denver and was able to play through it in the second half. Then things got worse on Sunday, which was the Pistons’ off day, and he didn’t play Monday’s matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder at The Palace.
Earlier Monday, Drummond had an MRI and X-ray, both of which were negative, and his outlook is day-to-day. The Pistons have two road games this week: at the Knicks on Wednesday and at the Cavaliers on Friday.
“We’re hopeful for Wednesday and beyond probable for Friday; there’s no longterm thing there,” coach Stan Van Gundy said before Monday’s game. “He’s got a sprain and a lot of discomfort and pain right now, but nothing that should keep him out long term. We should have him back for the weekend, if not Wednesday.
“It was good news. Obviously, missing a game is not what you want, but good news overall.”
Jackson missed most of the preseason and the first 10 games of the regular season because of tendinitis treatment for his right thumb and left knee.
Drummond got treatment during halftime of the Nuggets game and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. He didn’t seem to show significant signs of distress in the second half, accounting for eight points and six rebounds in eight minutes.
“It’s one of those things; it happens all the time when (the ankle) is warm and you keep going,” Van Gundy said. “He got treatment the entire halftime and he wasn’t in with our halftime talk.
“He was able to play but then after the game, he had a lot of pain, to the point that (Sunday), he couldn’t drive.”
Drummond was posting numbers similar to last year, when he earned his first All-Star selection. Through 10 games, he was averaging 14.9 points and 14.3 rebounds, playing about three fewer minutes per game.
He’s shown improved touch on free throws, with a sharp increase to 53 percent, from his league-worst 36 percent last season.
With Drummond out, the Pistons turned to Aron Baynes as the starter and Boban Marjanovic in a backup role. Baynes’ numbers had dropped this season as well, which Van Gundy attributed to the Jackson injury and defenses playing differently on the pick-and-roll.
Baynes responded Monday with six points in the first half, on 2-of-4 shooting in the first nine minutes, pushing the Pistons to a 28-25 lead after the first quarter. He added another pair of baskets in his second stint, in the second quarter, getting to 13 points and three rebounds by halftime, helping the Pistons to a 30-26 advantage on points in the paint in the first half.
Marjanovic added a couple of baskets in the first half, as well, for four points in seven minutes.
Van Gundy said he was eager to see how Marjanovic would perform in meaningful minutes — and got a good glimpse in the first half.
Marjanovic had several looks in the post and looked as if he was fouled on several touches in the paint, but finished plus-9 with the reserve group.
That was a good sign for the Pistons bench, with both Baynes and Marjanovic playing well in extended minutes, as the Pistons mounted a double-digit lead in the first half.
“We’ll just play it situationally, with Boban and Jon, maybe at times,” Van Gundy said. “We’ll see how many minutes Aron can go. We’ll see; we have options there.”
Marjanovic, 7-foot-3, was signed in the offseason a potential backup, in case Baynes exercises his player option on his contract and leaves after this season. He hasn’t played significant minutes this season (2.8 points and 1 rebound in four games).