Pistons guard Reggie Jackson discusses the difficulty of playing with knee tendinitis last season and the outlook for this season. Rod Beard
Auburn Hills — Reggie Jackson cleared another hurdle Friday. It’s a small one, but it’s important nonetheless.
Jackson went through his first full-contact practice of training camp, another step in his return from being shut down this summer on a 16-week protocol to manage the wear-and-tear on his knee tendinitis.
During the first week of training camp, Jackson has been participating in only one of the two-a-day sessions. Getting through full contact with no pain or issues crosses off another milestone, but Jackson and Langston Galloway (knee bruise) are giving coach Stan Van Gundy optimism that he’ll have a backcourt close to full strength when the regular season starts.
“I’m happy I’m feeling good even after this practice. I don’t know what to expect but my body is holding up so far and everything has been going according to the protocol,” Jackson said. “Everything has been going according to plan since we started the whole process in the summer.
“I’m happy to be feeling good each and every day. The best thing is to wake up and be pain-free; even if (I’m) sore, it’s really body soreness and nothing with the knee. My legs may be a little fatigued because I’m getting back to the swing of things.”
Jackson had been kept out of basketball activities for four months and just getting back to regular basketball shape is going to take some time. Through the first week of training camp, though, everything is looking up.
Van Gundy had said the next stage is getting Jackson to go through a full week of practice and scrimmages pain-free but he’ll use next week’s preseason games as a gauge as well.
“Before we play him in a regular-season game. I’ll use the exhibition games as basically practice time with him,” Van Gundy said. “We’ll see (on the whole week). He may not be able to go through (every day until Friday).”
The plan is to keep Jackson a minutes restriction through the preseason and reassess his progress ahead of the start of the regular season on Oct. 18. If everything checks out, Jackson could be cleared for playing a normal load of about 30 minutes — but that’s still a long way from coming to fruition.