Pistons' Caldwell-Pope practices, expected back
Auburn Hills — After a dreadful 10-game losing streak, the Pistons have won four of their last five games.
But that isn't the only good news.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (thigh bruise), who was hurt in the second half of Tuesday's victory over Toronto, is OK and should be back for this week's games at Orlando Friday and at Miami Sunday.
Caldwell-Pope returned to practice Thursday after the team only did light lifting on Wednesday and coach Stan Van Gundy said Caldwell-Pope participated fully without any issues.
The other big injury, Greg Monroe's knee strain, still has him out of action, though.
"Pope was fine and went through the whole practice; Greg didn't practice," Van Gundy said.
Monroe has been out for the recent five-game surge and did some light workouts this week, but may not be ready to return any time soon.
With only 11 games remaining in the season and his long-term status with the Pistons still up in the air, Monroe remains a question mark. When Monroe initially suffered the injury, Van Gundy said that initial indications were that the injury wasn't serious and that he wouldn't be out for a long time.
But the option of shutting Monroe down for the season doesn't seem to be on the table, either.
"I don't know (shutting him down). I've never really shut anybody down," Van Gundy said. "If he's ready to play, he's healthy and gets clearance and he's ready to go mentally, then we would play him. We're nowhere near that point yet."
Because of Monroe's absence, the Pistons have used Anthony Tolliver in the starting rotation, and he has responded by averaging eight points in the last five games. They've also utilized more the pick-and-roll with point guard Reggie Jackson, opening the floor and creating more off-the-dribble opportunities.
Winning still the goal
With the season waning, Van Gundy reiterated there's still a sense of urgency to finish strong.
The Pistons are four games out of the No. 8 seed in the East, so they mathematically aren't eliminated from the playoffs.
"I've never participated in a game my entire life that I didn't think it was important to win," Van Gundy said.
Miller has success
Quincy Miller made the most of his opportunity to play for Grand Rapids in the NBA Development League on Wednesday, finishing with 26 points and 15 rebounds.
Although Miller hasn't played with the Pistons this season, he has done well in the D-League.
"We didn't want him to miss anything with us, but it was a good opportunity for him to play," Van Gundy said.
As for seeing some time with the Pistons in the final 11 games, Van Gundy didn't want to commit.
"We'll see," he said. "It all depends on where we are."