Pistons’ Reggie Jackson ‘feeling real good,’ nears return

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Detroit Pistons guards Reggie Jackson, left, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) go through a pre game routine before the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Auburn Hills – Pistons guard Reggie Jackson’s road to returning appears to be on track.

While Monday marked the sixth week of his original six-to-eight week recovery timetable since getting a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left knee and right thumb to treat tendinitis, Jackson said he’s doing whatever he can to “get back as fast as possible.”

“I don't know exactly what the protocol is, but I feel good,” Jackson said after the team’s shoot-around ahead of Monday night’s game against the Rockets. “Feel great and the more reps I get with my teammates, I think it'll be an easier call for everybody who's in the decision-making to get back.

“I'm feeling real good, I'm feeling optimistic and I'm just hoping to get back soon.”

Jackson was cleared for limited basketball activity two weeks ago and has gradually increased his workload since. He said he hopes to be cleared for some full-contact drills in practice Tuesday.

“I feel a lot better. Getting stronger, getting more timing, getting my cardio up,” Jackson said. “Trying to get more implemented into practice and just trying to do whatever I can within the limits of protocol.”

The Pistons (6-8) have lost three straight with Ish Smith filling in the starting point guard role. Despite the team’s recent struggles, Jackson said he’s not trying to rush the process.

Pistons plan practice facility in Detroit

"I'm just listening to the staff and continuing to listen to the coaches,” Jackson said. “I'm just more concerned about feeling right. They urge me not to feel pressure to have to come back, but just continue to try to progress and get back as healthy as possible.

“We'll keep talking and go through the diagnosis but once it's right, I'll get back to playing full-time. I’m doing everything I can to try and recover, try and take care of it, and try to get my timing back. I’m just doing everything to build the trust that I can get out here and really attack again the way I like to.”

Sticking with it

Following last week’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy was mulling changes to the lineup and rotation.

Van Gundy said he needed more time to consider possible shuffling prior to Saturday’s loss to the Boston Celtics. But after having all day Sunday to think about it, Van Gundy has reconsidered.

“I actually like the way our group played (Saturday), so we'll stay with it until at least we have a practice (Tuesday),” Van Gundy said. “The other night, our big problem was not the defense, especially after the first quarter. Our problem was the offense. So there really wasn't a reason the way Marcus (Morris) and Tobias (Harris) were going to throw anybody else in at the three."

Opting for offense over defense is one reason forward Reggie Bullock played over Stanley Johnson, who has been struggling with his shot and didn’t get into a game for the first time this season.

Van Gundy said he didn’t have a preconceived notion that he was going to sit Johnson for the entire game, but Johnson took the benching in stride.

“I just like winning games so for me, I think (Van Gundy) is doing what's best for our team to win,” Johnson said. “I still feel like I'm a part of everything that happens.

“It's definitely tough not playing because I love playing basketball. But as long as we're trying to win games, it really doesn't matter who plays to me as long as we're winning."

Van Gundy added he also doesn’t want to shake up the rotation too much and throw players off with Jackson nearing a return.

“I don't really think we know who we are. I was talking to (owner) Tom (Gores) last night and it's a lot farther into the season you would like,” Van Gundy said. “We’ll be 30, 35 games into the year before we really can make any real estimations of the team, because you figure it will have to get to that before Reggie has a dozen, 15 games back.

“It's going to be a long time in where we're going to have to do it with our defense and continue to try and get better. But to really firm up rotations and all of that is going to take some time."

Pistons’ Thanksgiving event

The Pistons announced they’re partnering with Forgotten Harvest to host a Thanksgiving event Tuesday at Eastern Market to help fight hunger in Metro Detroit.

The entire Pistons team and coaching staff will be on hand for the event, which will serve over 400 individuals but is closed to the general public.

Twitter @jamesbhawkins