After Jennings' surgery, Pistons in wait-and-see mode

Vincent Goodwill Jr.
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — Pistons guard Brandon Jennings underwent successful surgery on his left Achilles tendon, which was ruptured Saturday night in Milwaukee.

Jennings, who'll miss the rest of the season and is facing a 6-9 month recovery process, was posting pictures and videos of himself with his fiancé Lashontae Heckard on Instagram Tuesday night after his procedure.

Tuesday morning, at the crack of dawn, he was peppering Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy with text messages containing game plan suggestions on how to beat the surging Cleveland Cavaliers in Tuesday night's game.

"I'm watching them a lot! That's what he said," Van Gundy said about the text. "He's so into it. It kills him not to be playing basketball. More than most people I've been around in this league, he just loves to play. This is killing him. He's trying to be upbeat."

Jennings was also texting Pistons owner Tom Gores before Tuesday's game. Gores arrived shortly before game time. Van Gundy said he'll talk to Jennings in the next couple of days.

"I've been hesitant to call because he's on those medications," Van Gundy said. "I text and he gets it whenever he gets it. I'm gonna wait until he gets out the first couple days. But we've been communicating."

For Van Gundy, the term "successful surgery" is sort of ambiguous, considering the long recovery process inherent in such procedures.

"Everything supposedly went well," he said. "I've never read anything after a surgery that didn't say 'had successful surgery.' I don't know what the hell that means.

"He's still living after the operation. You have to go a long way down the road before you know the surgery's successful."

As for how the Pistons will cope, Van Gundy said the Pistons won't do what the Cavaliers have recently done: traded away draft picks and future assets to acquire players to help them in the short term.

"We won't. We want to give ourselves every chance to get some help but we won't mortgage anything in terms of future," Van Gundy said. "We're not gonna go out and give away assets, picks or anything like that. We're not gonna do that.

"Here's the thing. We've definitely gotta get a third point guard. To go out and get a guy who's a huge difference maker, you'd have to give up something that would hurt you down the road.

"We're not in panic time. We're not gonna do that and be sitting here in the summer kicking ourselves. What we'll do is take the best available option with either we're happy with what we're giving up and can live with or get the best of what we won't have to give up anything to get."

They'll likely bring in someone in for a 10-day contract, but as far as the Pistons trading for the likes of 37-year old Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni, as ESPN has speculated, Van Gundy's words at this time seem to indicate otherwise.

Explosive but undersized guard Nate Robinson was recently let go but he'd likely want to go to an established contender, and Van Gundy doesn't seem inclined to scour the waiver wire to grab the best available player.

The Pistons are in a sort of no-man's land: not bad off enough to go full-bore for the lottery, and not good enough to give away valuable pieces for a viable playoff run.

"We're not giving away assets and players where we're tanking games," Van Gundy said. "But at the same time we're not at the point where we're giving up assets in the future to try to get an additional 3-4 wins this year. We're in between. We're gonna do as well as we can and stay as prudent as we can in decision making going forward."

For now he appears to have no problem with the combination of D.J. Augustin and rookie Spencer Dinwiddie.

"We'll see who we bring in, the better guy will play," Van Gundy said. "We'll play to win. But we're not going to set ourselves back in the years going forward to fight our way in the last playoff spot.

"D.J. played really well the other night. I don't think there's any doubt he can handle that. We have confidence in Spence and I think we'll pick up another reinforcement. It's a loss and it'll make it tougher. It doesn't change our game."