No setbacks for Pistons' Jennings day after debut

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
From left, the Pistons' Reggie Bullock, Darrun Hillard and Brandon Jennings watch the action from the bench during Grand Rapids' D-League game against Iowa on Saturday night.

Auburn Hills — For Brandon Jennings, it's almost time — just not yet.

As Jennings has rehabbed his injured Achilles for 11 months, he's getting closer to making his NBA return.

The emphasis is on "closer."

Jennings practiced with the Pistons on Sunday afternoon and said he didn't have any setbacks after playing for Detroit's NBA Development League affiliate in Grand Rapids Saturday night.

With games Tuesday in Miami and Wednesday in Atlanta this week, Jennings has a shot at making a return to the Pistons' lineup this week.

But after talking with coach Stan Van Gundy, it looks like Jennings' return won't be that accelerated.

"We're still going to take our time with it," Jennings said. "More on the defensive end, I'm still having trouble with pushing off, trying to get through screens, which is expected. My lateral movement is something I still have to work on.

"I'm going to still make the trip and see what happens."

Pistons� Jennings looks healthy in Grand Rapids start

Jennings had a successful first game in Grand Rapids, with 11 points and 12 assists in 27 minutes. It was more about testing him in game situations and his physical ability, but he showed some of the same flash that has become one of his calling cards in the NBA.

But there's a line between playing in the D-League and in the NBA for heavier minutes. Van Gundy said he isn't sure about what role Jennings will play immediately, with Steve Blake occupying the backup point guard spot currently.

As Jennings works his way back, he could move ahead of Blake, but he's not there right now. Jennings likely would be in the 10-man rotation, but Van Gundy isn't sure where he fits.

"It'll probably come down to deciding between him and Steve," he said. "I don't think at this point that I would play him ahead of Steve."

With the Pistons on a two-game win streak and 11 wins better than their 28-game start last season, Jennings doesn't want to upset the balance of team chemistry, but wants a spot in the rotation.

"We are playing well right now, so I know I can't come in and take it like that," Jennings said. "Hopefully we can get a couple practices in and then we can see what happens.

"If I have to earn my second spot, let's practice for it then."