Detroit — The regular season isn’t getting off to a banner start for the Pistons.
On the eve of Wednesday’s season opener at the Indiana Pacers, the Pistons announced that forward Blake Griffin will miss the start of the season because of knee issues.
“Blake Griffin will not travel to Indiana while continuing a treatment and conditioning regimen for left hamstring and posterior knee soreness,” the team wrote in a statement. “He will be re-evaluated for a return to action the first week of November."
Griffin had minor knee surgery following last season, when he missed the last five games of the regular season and the first two games of the playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Griffin, 30, was an All-NBA selection last season and was progressing toward building on that to start the year. He played in only the first two preseason games and missed the final three, looking to be ready to start the regular season.
That’s not happening either.
The “early November” wording of the statement suggests that Griffin will miss the first five games in October. The Pistons have four games in the first full week of November, which could mean an extended absence for the team’s leader and leading scorer.
In addition, rookie first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya is in concussion protocol after sustaining a blow to the head on Saturday and feeling the effects on Sunday. Doumbouya will not make the trip to Indianapolis but could be available for the home opener on Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks if he clears the protocol.
Reggie Jackson (lower-back tightness) is listed as probable for the opener after being limited in the final preseason game and Markieff Morris (lower-back tightness) is listed as questionable.
The news of Griffin’s injury is cushioned somewhat by the Pistons’ decision Monday to keep big man Christian Wood on the roster for added frontcourt depth. Wood, at 6-foot-10, can play either forward or center and will be able to handle some of the minutes created by Griffin’s absence.
“He’d better respond in an appropriate way because it’s a fine line in this league — stay hungry and stay with that chip on his shoulder,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He had the chip on his shoulder: he wasn’t late, he was a professional, he was mature and he was consistent. Those were the questions about Christian — it never was about his talent.”
“The jury is still there and that’s why he has to stay on his p’s and q’s and I have all the confidence in the world that he will.
Pistoins at Pacers
Tipoff: 7 Wednesday, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Outlook: Without Blake Griffin, the Pistons will have to adjust to a new normal, possibly with Markieff Morris in the starting lineup. The Pacers will be without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo (knee injury) at least until December.
John Niyo and Rod Beard preview the 2019-2020 season for the Detroit Pistons on Pistons Backcourt. The Detroit News