The Pacers won, 118-89, ending the Pistons' 11-game home winning streak. Rod Beard, The Detroit News
Detroit — Dwane Casey is hoping that three is the magic number.
And that’s it.
Playing without Blake Griffin for any more games than that will be another gut punch for the Pistons’ playoff hopes, with just a week remaining in the season. Griffin sat again on Wednesday night — the third straight game he’s missed — because of left knee soreness.
On the injury report, Griffin had been upgraded to questionable but after consultation with the medical team, the decision was made to hold Griffin out another game. Casey said the injury isn’t serious and that Griffin still is day-to-day.
“It’s not structural; it’s what he can tolerate. (The medical team) has been working, trying to get it back to where he’s comfortable; he’s still not comfortable with it,” Casey said before Tuesday’s game. “The medical people made the decision until he’s comfortable and he can (play) with it.”
Griffin has played in 72 games this season, his most since 2013-14, when he played in 80 with the Clippers. He’s posting career-best numbers in scoring (24.7 points) and adding 7.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists plus has his highest usage rate (30.2 percent).
He had missed three games early in the season for rest but there’s more concern about the knee injury, because it was considered one of the risks of trading for Griffin last season. With four games remaining in the regular season and the Pistons closing in on a playoff spot, it’s looking more like things will come down to the wire.
In Griffin’s absence, more of the minutes have been distributed to Thon Maker in a starting role and to Glenn Robinson III off the bench. That’s the benefit that Casey is hoping to get from the injury, as the Pistons have won two of the last three.
“It’s what life is all about — decisions and opportunities. Guys are getting opportunities and what are they going to do with it?” Casey said. “It’s going to be an opportunity for Jon (Leuer); it’s going to an opportunity for Glenn because Blake is out again tonight with a sore knee. It’s an opportunity for everyone.”
The Pistons did get some good injury news, with the return of Luke Kennard, who was limited by a sore right foot. He was listed as doubtful for the past two days but was upgraded to playing and coming off the bench.