Marjanovic's solid outing allays Pistons' center worries

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — The Pistons made do without their backup center, but could be getting some more bench help in the next week or so.

Aron Baynes (left ankle sprain) didn’t practice on Wednesday but Reggie Bullock, who has been out for over a month as he recovers from a torn meniscus, participated in practice, doing some 5-on-5 half-court work.

Baynes missed Tuesday night’s loss to the Indiana Pacers, his first game missed this season, but his status in unclear for Thursday night’s matchup against the Charlotte Hornets at The Palace. Before the game, Baynes went through some workouts — and did some work with team trainers in the morning — but didn’t feel he was able to play at 100 percent and help the team.

Detroit Pistons center Boban Marjanovic passes the ball during the first half.

Durable Aron Baynes sits out with sprained ankle

“When he got out there, he was able to do a lot but he couldn’t really push off and change direction,” Van Gundy said Wednesday. “He was able to go through an offensive workout before the game but to really get down and move laterally and push off and cut, he was not able to do.

“What he did in the morning produced significant soreness. As you would expect with Aron, he gave everything he could to try to do it, but he wasn’t going to be able to. I don’t know about tomorrow.”

In Baynes’ place, Boban Marjanovic played 10 minutes and had four points and four rebounds in 10 minutes, his most significant playing time of the season. That made an impression on Van Gundy, in case he’ll need Marjanovic to continue playing if Baynes doesn’t return immediately.

“I thought (Marjanovic) was good and played pretty well. He defended pretty well in the low post. Because he’s been our third guy, I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of building a lot in for him offensively, so we probably need to do that,” Van Gundy said. “He needs to be a little more aggressive to score the ball.

“He really is so unselfish and he wants to pass but when he gets the ball down below the dotted circle, at 7-foot-4 and the touch he has, we want him to score the ball.”

Van Gundy said he doesn’t expect Bullock to be cleared to play Thursday, but it’s a big step forward in getting another wing option back for the bench.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

Pistons vs. Hornets

Tip-off: 7:30 Thursday, The Palace of Auburn Hills

TV/radio: FSD/WMGC

Outlook: The Hornets have struggled on the road lately, losing six of their last eight, but Kemba Walker (23 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists) is vying for his first All-Star selection. The Pistons have lost 8 of 10 and are in 12th place in the East.