Pistons' Caldwell-Pope will have MRI on injured groin
Boston — The Pistons had been beset by minor injuries for the past few games, but escaped a major scare to one of their starters.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope slipped on a wet spot on an inbounds play with 3:00 left in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s 102-95 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. He was diagnosed with a strained right groin and did not return.
“He’s got a groin strain; we’ll get an MRI (Thursday) and we’ll be able to tell you (Thursday) better,” coach Stan Van Gundy said following the game. “He’ll almost certainly be out (Thursday), but other than that, we don’t know until we find out.
Caldwell-Pope’s streak of 207 straight games played — the second-longest active streak in the league — likely will end but how long he might be out is unclear. The Pistons have four games remaining before the All-Star break, then don’t play again until Feb. 19 at the Washington Wizards.
The Pistons trailed, 46-34, and Caldwell-Pope went down immediately on the wet spot. Celtics forward Jae Crowder also slipped on the same spot but wasn’t injured.
After play stopped, Caldwell-Pope limped around and labored until he was attended by team medical staff. He was helped off the court and went straight to the locker room for further examination.
Following the injury, the Celtics finished the half on a 10-2 run, for a 20-point advantage.
The other Pistons remained concerned after the game, though they indicated he said he was fine.
“It’s very scary. You just hold your breath and say a quick prayer for him and hope everything is all right,” point guard Reggie Jackson said. “It hurts and (stinks) to see him go down, somebody who plays so hard, a guy you’d want in a foxhole with you.
“To see him go down definitely hurt me and we just want him back as fast as possible but want him to be fully recovered.”
Caldwell-Pope averages 37 minutes per game, ranking second in the league. That’s plenty of minutes to have to spread around — likely between a pair of rookies, Stanley Johnson and Darrun Hilliard.
In the short term, Johnson could join the starting lineup and Hilliard, who had played sparingly, could see an increased role.
“It’s just all about defense; coach wants me to go in there and play hard and play defense,” Hilliard said. “With Pope going down, he’s one of the better defenders in the league and Stanley and I have to pick up that slack and we’re ready for the job.”