Jackson could be out 6-8 weeks with knee tendinitis

Rod Beard, The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — The Pistons are entering the season with high expectations.

Those hopes might be taking a hit before the season even starts.

Point guard Reggie Jackson, who has been dealing with tendinitis in his left knee, will miss significant time to treat the pain and find relief.

The lingering question is just how long that will be.

“He’s going to be out for a while,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said Wednesday. “We don’t know how long — and that’ll all be determined by what he chooses to do.

“He has not decided upon a treatment course yet; that decision should be in the next day or two. (Jackson) wanted to make sure they had a couple days to think about it after digesting what the doctors said.”

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Depending on Jackson’s choice of treatment, he could miss between 6-8 weeks. One option is a platelet-rich plasma injection, which Jackson had when he played in Oklahoma City. Other options would reduce the time Jackson would be out, but could be less effective.

Van Gundy said surgery isn’t necessary and isn’t an option.

Continuing to play on the knee, however, would be painful and could make the condition worse.

“He’s been OK with (the decision),” Van Gundy said. “This is something that was talked about the week before camp. He didn’t want to go there at that point; he wanted to get into camp and see. He wasn’t getting better and hurting and struggling to get through stuff.”

Van Gundy said Jackson has had tendinitis issues dating to his first couple of seasons in the NBA. There were initial problems this summer when he arrived at training camp, and Jackson was limited to one practice during two-a-day workouts.

The Pistons, who begin their exhibition schedule Thursday on the road against the Nets, will move forward with Ish Smith sliding into the starting role and Ray McCallum Jr. and Lorenzo Brown vying for the backup spot.

It’s unlikely the Pistons would be able to make a trade or pursue a free agent to fill Jackson’s void.

“Right now, there’s not a lot out there on the market,” Van Gundy said. “There’s a few guys still out there, but I like what we’re seeing out of Ray and Lorenzo and we’ll stick with that.”

Smith, who started 50 games with the 76ers last season and was one of the main targets during free agency, gets another chance to show his worth.

“When the opportunity comes, you have to step up and hold down the fort until Reggie gets back,” Smith said. “That’s the goal and what I have to do.

“I know for us to be really good to where we want to be, we need all 18 guys. We need him back.”

Smith averaged 14.7 points and 7 assists with the 76ers. He also added 8.9 points and 5.7 assists in 27 games (three starts) with the Pelicans. That’s more than enough for Van Gundy to feel comfortable with him as the temporary starter.

“The issue will be unless we cut somebody with a guaranteed contract, we’d go into the season with only two healthy point guards,” Van Gundy said. “So we have to be ready at some point with who is that emergency third guy if somebody tweaks an ankle.”

The good news for the Pistons is Jackson’s treatment could start now — and with the projected timeline, Jackson likely could return around Thanksgiving, at the latest. With that time frame, he would miss between 10-20 games.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard