Charlotte, N.C. — First, it was Zaza Pachulia last week. Then it was Blake Griffin on Wednesday.
Andre Drummond was next to get the stomach virus that’s been going around the Pistons team. Drummond missed the morning shootaround ahead of Friday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets because of the illness.
After getting some rest and intravenous fluids before the game, Drummond was cleared to play.
It was almost a very rare sick day for Drummond. He rarely misses a game at all, having played in 443 of the last 449 games, dating back to March 2013. Maybe even more than his rebounding, Drummond’s durability and stamina are among his best traits.
“Andre’s pretty durable and he can go longer stretches in games. His stamina is never an issue,” coach Dwane Casey said. “People forget about how young Andre still is in this league and as a young man.
“The older he gets, the better he’s going to get. We’re all competing against Father Time. He’s still going (up).”
Drummond, 25, hasn’t missed more than three games in a season since his rookie year and he has averaged 32 minutes per game in that span. It’s a rarity to be that durable — especially among big men — in the NBA.
Casey said it starts with Drummond’s attention to maintaining his health in the summer and continues throughout the season. That includes working out during the offseason and being disciplined in his nutrition.
“He did a great job last summer of getting in great shape and he stayed in good condition this year. It’s helped him now and it’s going to help him the older he gets to stay injury-free with better condition,” Casey said. “He’s eating right and all those things. He’s doing a good job of taking care of himself and his body.”
In his seventh season, Drummond remains one of the best-conditioned big men in the league and Casey said he manages his weight well, which makes everything else easier to stay in top shape.
Brown staying around
Rookie guard Bruce Brown remains in the rotation, even after the return of Luke Kennard and Reggie Bullock from injuries. Brown, a second-round pick, is earning minutes because of his defense and how quickly he’s picking things up.
It’s a testament to his work ethic and ability to process things and execute them in game situations. In 22 games, he’s averaging 17 minutes per game, but his calling card is not on the offensive end — at least not yet.
Casey noted Brown’s talent early on and thought the rookie might be able to crack the rotation and make an impact.
“It was his defensive approach; it wasn’t his offense. He’s always where he’s supposed to be; his energy on the ball is unbelievable and he takes pride in competing and guarding the ball,” Casey said. “It’s rare you’ll beat him badly. It’ll be a mistake if you get one dribble to the rim. I saw that in Summer League workouts and I’m impressed he’s getting better.
“The little things and nuances of the game is where he’s getting better in the fourth quarter and remembering. All rookies you worry about, not just him, that you worry about in crucial parts of the game.”
In recent weeks, Brown has been tasked with some of the tougher defensive assignments around the league, including Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the Hornets' Kemba Walker. For the most part, he's held his own, but there will be more of a comfort level later in the season, as he gets more accustomed to the nuances around the league.