Foot pain slows Pistons’ Stanley Johnson
Auburn Hills — The Pistons’ injury concerns continue to mount in the preseason.
After losing Reggie Jackson (knee tendinitis) for six to eight weeks, there’s a new concern with Stanley Johnson’s left foot.
Johnson left Saturday’s exhibition win over the 76ers in the second quarter, complaining of foot pain, and didn’t return in the second half.
Coach Stan Van Gundy believes it’s not a huge concern, but after an MRI revealed nothing, Johnson is having a CAT scan as a precaution. Johnson won’t play in Monday night’s preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks at The Palace.
“It’s been happening a little bit; it’s a thing in his foot and the weird thing is they say he has small ligaments down in his feet so he gets more bone movement,” Van Gundy said Monday after the Pistons’ shoot around. “We’ll just have to see, but it doesn’t appear to be anything that’s really major but it’s been bothering him.
“Right before I took him out the other night, we were coming to the timeout and he said his foot was really bothering him when he was trying to push off and go.”
Johnson joins the Pistons’ growing group of injured players, which includes Jackson, Marcus Morris (mild knee tendinitis) and Aron Baynes (back spasms); all three did not play in Saturday’s win.
Van Gundy noted that holding Baynes out is more precautionary, as he’s still experiencing some soreness, but there isn’t serious concern about his long-term health.
“Aron’s is not a big deal at all,” Van Gundy said. “If it was a regular-season game, Aron would have played the other night. It was a precautionary thing because he has some soreness.”
If Baynes is unable to play, Boban Marjanovic will be the backup behind Andre Drummond.
Managing Morris’ pain and playing time has been planned since last week. He sat out both road games (at Atlanta on Thursday and at Philadelphia on Saturday) and did light work Monday in the walkthrough.
Van Gundy is planning to have Morris do a light practice Tuesday and walkthrough Wednesday, with the possibility of playing in Wednesday’s preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors at The Palace.
“You’re always concerned when you have guys hurt,” Van Gundy said. “Marcus is moving in the right direction. We know where we are with Reggie, so Stanley is the one unknown right now.
“Everything has looked pretty good so far, so we’ll just see. I’m always concerned, but as I look around the league and box scores and injury reports, other than Reggie — that’s a bad one — we’re ahead of everybody else.”
Since his tendinitis injection last week, Jackson had been on crutches, but on Monday he went without them, Van Gundy said. It was the first step in his recovery process, after he went from two crutches to one and then walking on his own.
“He hasn’t done enough to know if the (recovery) schedule is any different,” Van Gundy said. “A lot of it has to do with he doesn’t want to use any crutches and there isn’t any harm in (not using them).”
Van Gundy said Jackson has begun doing other exercises to help keep his heart rate up and to ensure that he’s closer to being in shape when he finally is cleared after his recovery is complete.
Assistant coach Tim Hardaway, who was suspended three games for a DUI, tried to turn it into a learning experience for the players.
“Tim handled it well and spoke to our team in Philly the other day and had some really good things to say, that hopefully they can all learn from, too,” Van Gundy said. “He used the situation to show some remorse but also to talk to them about some things, which I think will be helpful to them.”
Hardaway will miss the first three games of the regular season, beginning Oct. 26 in Toronto.
The Pistons trimmed their roster, waiving forward Nikola Jovanovic on Monday. Jovanovic, a 6-foot-11 rookie who played at Southern California, likely will transition to the D-League Grand Rapids Drive, unless another NBA team adds him to its roster.
“We hope (Grand Rapids) is where he’ll end up,” Van Gundy said. “We have him as an affiliate player, so he doesn’t have to go through the draft.”
The roster stands at 17 players, with Ray McCallum Jr., Lorenzo Brown and Trey Freeman all vying for the final roster spot.