Break gives Pistons valuable healing time
Auburn Hills — After playing three games in four nights, the Pistons gets a bit of a respite, with Tuesday off, practice Wednesday and Thursday a travel day before Friday’s matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The short break comes in handy, with the Pistons still managing some minor injuries. Jon Leuer has missed the last nine games because of a sprained left ankle and didn’t practice Wednesday. Avery Bradley (groin tightness) and Andre Drummond (dental implant) also missed practice, as the Pistons went with 11 players.
Coach Stan Van Gundy said Bradley and Drummond likely would be ready for Friday’s game; Leuer is a bigger concern.
“It’s not progressing the way we would have hoped or liked. (Leuer) has not able to go again today,” Van Gundy said. “I haven’t heard. I don’t think there’s any problem; I would have heard had there been. There’s still no structural damage; he’s just not progressing the way he had hoped.”
Leuer had an MRI that didn’t show anything major, but he hasn’t played since Halloween, so even when he’s cleared to play, it could take some time for him to get back to game speed.
Henry Ellenson, who was sent to the Grand Rapids Drive in the development league, had 31 points in the loss to the Oklahoma City Blue. Ellenson had his first game action in Monday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, with six points and two rebounds in 12 minutes, off a pair of 3-pointers.
Van Gundy isn’t concerned about Ellenson’s offense; the bigger concern is how he performs on defense and whether he can work his way back into the rotation, especially with Leuer out because of the injury.
Pistons at Thunder
Tip-off: 8 Friday, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
TV/radio: FSD-Plus/WWJ 950
Outlook: The Pistons get their first look at the Thunder’s Big Three of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.