Pistons’ Jackson chooses plasma injection to treat knee
Auburn Hills — The Pistons knew that they’d be without starting point guard Reggie Jackson for a while, because of left knee tendinitis.
The only question was exactly how long.
They have an idea where they stand now with Jackson deciding on his treatment course.
Coach Stan Van Gundy announced Saturday that Jackson will have a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday to help ease the issues from the tendinitis, which worsened just before the team began voluntary workouts last month.
It’s unclear how long Jackson will be sidelined, but Van Gundy estimated that it could be 6-8 weeks.
“He will get the PRP injection in New York on Monday,” Van Gundy said. “I haven’t gotten the timetable but it’s a significant amount of time. He’ll be on crutches for three to seven days.
“He won’t be here Monday night (for the exhibition home opener) because he’ll do the thing in New York and almost certainly won’t be on the trip with us next week, and then we’ll go from there.”
Jackson previously had a PRP treatment when he played with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011. It has the longest recovery time of all the options, but has the highest probability of relieving the pain for an extended period.
“Our hope was that it was more normal tendinitis stuff and we could work it out but it didn’t appear to be — and on top of that, he had the bone bruise,” Van Gundy said. “He had a pretty significant setback compared to some of these other guys (Marcus Morris, Ish Smith).
“It’s pretty typical stuff and that’s what we hoped with Reggie, but it’s not the way it turned out.”
With that projected timeline, Jackson, the Pistons’ leading scorer, would return in mid to late November and miss some 10-20 regular-season games.
“The week before camp, that’s when Jon (Ishop, head athletic trainer) hit me with it," Van Gundy said.
"I was aware that (Jackson) was having some (issues). At any one time, we have four or five guys out here with tendinitis — that’s a basketball injury that you’re always treating and managing, so I knew he had some discomfort right when he came back.
“When Jon started mentioning it wasn’t getting better and we might have to go this route was about a week before camp.”
Jackson mentioned the discomfort but participated in workouts and the first two scrimmages, with normal tendinitis treatment.
When that didn’t work, team doctors examined Jackson and recommended the PRP to aid with healing and pain management. After consulting with his brother and his agent, Jackson got a second opinion, which resulted in the same recommendation.
“Reggie’s done it before in 2011 and it’s been five years; he’s played a lot of games and a lot of minutes and it’s gotten him here,” Van Gundy said. “He has a good confidence in that. Nothing’s forever but that’s something that worked really well for him before.”
In the interim, Smith has taken the reins in the starting lineup, including for the exhibition-opening loss at Brooklyn on Thursday.
McCallum, Brown to rotate as backups
With Jackson out, Van Gundy reiterated his plan to use Smith as the starter and rotate Ray McCallum and Lorenzo Brown as the backup. They’ll have their chances early in the preseason, but then he’ll have to choose one, because they don’t have a free roster spot to carry two more point guards.
Smith will get more time with the starters in the exhibition home opener on Monday against the Spurs. But it’ll also be Brown’s turn to earn a roster spot.
“Ish will play every game. We need to get used to playing with Ish and work those other two guys in,” Van Gundy said. “As Ish’s minutes go up, they won’t get as many but they’ll get backup minutes. For the first four games, we’ll give them each two games and then we’ll decide how to go.
“We’ve got the six games and the Saturday after our last exhibition game and we’ll play another full scrimmage. We’ve already played three and they’ve gotten a lot of time to show us, besides practice every day, to play in game conditions.”
Van Gundy said that even though McCallum played in Thursday’s game, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s leading Brown in the competition for the third spot. He didn’t want to split their minutes in games and decided on the rotation approach.
He’s seen good production from both in their workouts and scrimmages but with the roster almost locked in and no extra spots available, he’ll have to choose one.
“It’s not going to be an easy decision because they’re both good players; they’re both NBA players, so they’re not stretching to bring either one in,” Van Gundy said. “The way we’d like to start the year is to have them both because you’d want to have three point guards. To do that, we’d have to cut somebody on a guaranteed contract — and I don’t foresee that.
He said the plan will be to experiment with some lineups with two shooting guards, with one as a ballhandler or potentially using one of the big men to get the ball up the court and initiate the offense.