Detroit — Add Dwight Buycks to the list of injured Pistons.
Buycks, a reserve point guard, suffered a sprained left ankle Thursday during practice and missed Friday’s game against the Chicago Bulls.
Buycks sustained the injury playing one-on-one drills with Langston Galloway and Reggie Jackson — who himself is recovering from a grade-3 ankle sprain that has kept him sidelined since December.
The injury is another blow to a Pistons roster that already is missing a couple rotation players in Jackson, Stanley Johnson (back spasms) and Jon Leuer (ankle surgery).
“He rolled an ankle and it didn’t look that bad,” Van Gundy said before Friday’s game. “I didn’t think he’ll be out a long time, but he’s out tonight.”
Buycks has rejoined the rotation after the Pistons acquired Jameer Nelson in the trade with the Chicago Bulls in February. In the last seven games since returning to the rotation, he’s averaged 9.1 points and 2.3 rebounds, in about 18 minutes per game.
He began the season a two-way contract with the Pistons and Grand Rapids Drive earlier and later signed a fully guaranteed deal to remain with the team. He’s been the primary backup during most of the time of Jackson’s injury, along with Langston Galloway and Nelson.
Jackson’s one-on-one work with the other point guard signifies another step in his progression toward a return to game action. He’s been doing shooting drills with staff members over the past week and Van Gundy hinted that the goal was to get Jackson back before next week’s western trip.
On Friday, he said that starting full-contact practice by the time the team leaves for Salt Lake City on Sunday is still a best-case scenario but wasn’t optimistic that would still be the case, given the trajectory his progress was on.
Johnson has had the nagging back injuries for most of the season, missing a couple games at a time — 13 total this season — and this is the latest recurrence. Things seemed to have improved, as Johnson has played in 21 straight games before Wednesday’s game against the Raptors, but he’s missed the last two.
Van Gundy said there wasn’t any structural damage, so it will just be a case of treating the pain and looking to get Johnson back in the lineup as soon as possible.
Next week begins the most grueling road trip of the season, as they play six games in 12 days on their western trip. They begin on Tuesday against the Jazz, then Thursday versus the Denver Nuggets and the week Saturday at Portland.
The second half of the road trip includes March 19 at Sacramento, the first half of a back-to-back with Phoenix the following night, then finishing on March 22 at Houston.