Pistons' Reggie Jackson returns to practice, could play Friday
Auburn Hills — It might have been a somewhat sleepless night for Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey, as he wondered about the condition of Reggie Jackson’s groin injury in Wednesday night’s preseason loss to the Washington Wizards.
Jackson was on a minutes restriction because of his rehab from his ankle injury and played five minutes in the first quarter before playing all 12 in the second. After just three minutes in the third quarter, Jackson experienced some tightness and was examined by medical and training staff.
It was a scare for Casey initially, but the Pistons got better news Thursday, when Jackson went through practice fully, though he was still a little sore.
“Everything was precautionary. I took care of my body and it felt good today,” Jackson said Thursday. “It’s equivalent to anybody that starts working out after not working out for a long time — when they start lifting weights and going high intensity, you get a little soreness.
“It was typical soreness from working out. It’s just precautionary.”
After the rocky road the Pistons have gone on the past two seasons after Jackson’s injuries, Casey wasn’t looking forward to another setback. It would have meant another delay in developing chemistry with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond and more games missed, after being out of 37 last season.
With the regular season starting on Wednesday, there’s no good time for an injury at this point.
“I was really concerned last night," Casey said. "The key is that you want everybody to be 100-percent healthy. After that first day of training camp, there’s very few people who are 100 percent. We have to get it as high as we can going into next week. Once you have one injury, you try to get into it too quick and something else comes about. That’s not surprising that his groin tightened up, but today was much better.”
Jackson would like to play in Friday’s preseason finale, but he understands the angst about pressing through an injury and the medical team’s desire to be cautious instead of taking an unnecessary risk.
He played 17 minutes on Monday, in his first preseason action, followed by 20 minutes on Wednesday. He was on track to escalate to about 20-25 Friday and be ready for possibly a bigger load in the regular-season opener, but it’s not clear if that progression is still in play.
“I know they have me on (a limit). They’ve been doing a good job keeping me around those minutes and taking care of my body. I really do feel good,” Jackson said. “I’m just going day by day and the goal is to be back for Game 1. It’s still six days. We’re progressing the right way and hit the marker we want to hit.”
In the preseason so far, there’s plenty of attention on the Pistons’ shot selection and 3-point shooting, which isn’t over 30 percent total. That’s still developing, Casey says, but there’s also a focus on moving without the ball and getting more players involved in the action around the rim.
The issue is that because of rotations and minutes restrictions, they haven’t been able to run the offense with the full complement of starters, which only gives a partial view of what they’ll expect when they get to the season.
“These last few exhibition games — outside of San Antonio — have been good tests for us to see who can perform and what we can do late in games,” Casey said. “The unfortunate thing is the guys who have been out have been the guys who are going to be in there. It’s good work for us in close game in the last five minutes.”
Pistons vs. Cavaliers
Tipoff: 7 Friday, Breslin Center, East Lansing
Outlook: The Pistons (1-3) close the preseason schedule as the road team in a matchup at Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s alma mater. Stanley Johnson (toe) is questionable but all four other starters should be able to go.