Pistons' Jackson on Sunday return: 'We'll see'

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Atlanta — After Friday’s shoot-around at Philips Arena, Reggie Jackson moved around the court with relative ease, not showing much issue as he finishes the final stages of his rehabilitation from knee tendinitis.

But the question lingers: When will he be able to return to the Pistons lineup after missing the first 20 games of the season? Friday’s game against the Hawks was too soon, but when asked about Sunday’s home matchup against the Orlando Magic, he had an interesting answer.

“We’ll see,” Jackson said.

It’s just the latest marker in the countdown to the Pistons getting their starting point guard back, as he’s been ramping up his activity this week and looking like he’s ready to return. Coach Stan Van Gundy said Jackson did some one-on-one work against rookie Michael Gbinije on Thursday’s off-day in Atlanta and everything’s pointing to a return to the lineup very soon.

Just how soon is the next question.

“It’s pretty much him now, him saying he feels well enough to play,” Van Gundy said. “The medical people have cleared him, he’s gone 5-on-5, though not a ton. It’s really a matter of his comfort level and if he wants to give it a shot.

“Whenever he says ‘I’m ready to go,’ then he’s ready to go.”

Jackson, who averaged 18.8 points last season, didn’t commit to a timetable on his comeback but is nearing the end of the original estimate of six to eight weeks. He’d likely want to get more time in 5-on-5 full-contact practices before jumping back into game situations. The Pistons have a packed schedule next week, with games on Tuesday versus the Bulls at The Palace, Wednesday at the Hornets, Friday at the Timberwolves and Sunday hosting the 76ers.

They are scheduled to have an off-day on Saturday, but Van Gundy said he hasn’t decided on whether they might have a workout to help Jackson get more prepared. But it’s a tricky proposition, given the late return they’ll have from Atlanta.

“We’re trying to balance what he needs and what everybody else needs; getting home at 2:30 or 3 in the morning is the balance we have to try to come to,” Van Gundy said. “We haven’t talked about that at all.”

Answers Saturday on Bullock

The Pistons still are waiting to get a definitive answer on the status of Reggie Bullock, who has a meniscus tear in his left knee. He already got a second opinion this week but wasn’t sure what the next step will be.

It became somewhat clearer Friday.

Bullock will have a procedure on Saturday to determine the severity of the injury and what the course of treatment will be after that. Bullock returned to Detroit on Friday afternoon and when the surgery is completed by team physician Dr. Todd Frush, they’ll know more.

“We still don’t know what the recovery time will be,” Van Gundy said. “When Dr. Frush gets in there tomorrow and determines what they need to do procedure-wise, then we’ll have an idea coming out of the surgery timetable, but going in, we don’t have any idea.”

Toy drive

Meijer presents its “Season of Giving” festivities tip-off with a holiday toy drive, giving fans the opportunity to join in on spreading holiday cheer.

The Pistons will set up toy-collection bins at all Palace entrances for fans to donate toys benefiting Toys for Tots at the Pistons game vs. Orlando on Sunday and against Philadelphia on Dec. 11.

Additionally, seven Halo Burger locations in Flint, Grand Blanc and Fenton will be accepting toy donations from Dec. 4-19. Pistons mascot Hooper will host a Toys for Tots event from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at Halo Burger, 3388 S. Linden Rd., Flint, on Dec. 13th, giving fans a chance to meet Hooper and get free food coupons with a toy donation.