Pistons’ Reggie Jackson cleared for full practices
Auburn Hills — After his first full practice in more than a month, Reggie Jackson still wanted to shoot.
So he stayed after Monday’s practice and got in some extra time with shooting coach Dave Hopla, showing minimal rust from having missed most of camp and all the regular season because of tendinitis treatments.
Jackson participated in 5-on-5 practice for the first time since his injections of platelet-rich plasma in his left knee and right thumb last month, and crossed another benchmark toward his return. He’s still within the original rehab time line of 6-8 weeks, but after being cleared for full contact, he could be down to the final week before he returns.
“I’ve seen him for a couple weeks; he looks fine playing,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Stamina is going to be an issue; I don’t think he can play 33 minutes a game right now. Whenever they tell me he’s ready to go, and he tells me he’s ready to go in his mind, then he’ll go.”
The Pistons, who are 8-10 with point guard Ish Smith in the starting role, play three road games this week — tonight against the Hornets, Wednesday against the Celtics, and Friday against the Hawks. They are 1-8 on the road.
Jackson said he didn’t go through full-contact drills, but it was just good to get back in the flow and test his knee.
“I’m just trying to get some more practices under my belt and then from there make a decision,” Jackson said. “Right now, it’s just one day. It wasn’t full contact, up-and-down, non-stop. It was just (set plays). I also had a sub, so I didn’t get enough time to find out what my wind is, and even my endurance.
“I’m not sure the next game is the game to come back.”
Van Gundy said he restructured the practice to give Jackson some reps to get more comfortable. Jackson will get more individual work this week during the road trip, but Van Gundy didn’t rule out having another practice to try to get a better gauge of Jackson’s status.
“Everything is good. I think it’s more on him and how he feels and how will he feel (today),” Van Gundy said. “A big part of it after guys come back off injuries, is they have to feel confident in what’s going on too.
“A lot of it is on him; he’s cleared to do everything. A lot of it is when he feels comfortable that he’s ready to play.”
Reggie Bullock is awaiting a second opinion for the meniscus tear in his left knee, which he suffered last Wednesday against the Heat.
“They’ve got two possibilities of guys they want to get another opinion from,” Van Gundy said. “They’ll make that decision by (today) and then we’ll go from there. I hope whatever we’re going to do, we do this week.”
Road defense poor
Defense has been an issue, especially on the road, but Van Gundy decided not to harp on it during practice. The Pistons have given up 104 points or more in seven of nine road contests.
The players, he said, know the stats and the impact and what needs to be done; it’s just a matter of executing.
“Sometimes you can just talk about stuff too much and it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Van Gundy said. “Somebody’s going to go out and try to play basketball and play better on this road trip.”
Pistons at Hornets
Tipoff: Tuesday, 7 p.m., Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.
TV / radio: FSD-Plus / WMGC
Outlook: The Pistons look to flip the script on their road woes, continuing the four-game stretch away from The Palace with a back-to-back against the Hornets and Celtics, and finishing the trip at Atlanta on Friday.