Pistons’ Derrick Rose out at least two weeks with ankle sprain
Detroit — Scratch out another name from the Pistons’ starting lineup.
Derrick Rose sustained a grade-2 sprain in his right ankle and will miss two weeks, after which he will be re-evaluated, the team announced Tuesday.
Rose suffered the injury in Sunday's loss to the Sacramento Kings after landing on De’Aaron Fox's foot in the second quarter. He went to the locker room and didn’t return to the game. An MRI on Monday revealed the severity of the sprain, and the outlook of two weeks could threaten to end Rose’s season.
That two-week period spans six games, beginning with Wednesday’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and continuing to March 17 against the Orlando Magic. That would leave 14 games in the remainder of the season, and with the Pistons already with slim playoff hopes, there might not be much reason to risk anything.
“We’ll just see how he feels. I wouldn’t put (him done for the season) in concrete, but I don't know what he would get from it,” coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday. “We’d get a little bump from it as a team, but I don’t know what he would gain from it by coming back (for the) last weeks. We haven’t made that decision yet.”
Rose’s MRI showed no structural damage, which is a relief, given the history of injuries he’s had throughout his career. In 50 games this season, Rose has averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 assists, his best numbers since 2011-12.
“It's very disappointing, and more for Derrick than anything because the young man has been through so much with his body. He’s finally getting his sea legs and having a good season, and it's unfortunate,” Casey said. “We’ll see and again, at least it wasn’t anything structural; just a tough sprain. … We’re working with the young guys and everything, but just for him to come through and try to play a full season.”
In the interim, the Pistons have a void at point guard, with Derrick Walton's 10-day contract ending, leaving only Brandon Knight and two-way player Jordan Bone, who was at practice Tuesday.
Knight, whose play has improved sharply in the past four games, as he's scored in double figures and has played well with Rose in a lineup of two point guards that Casey was looking forward utilizing more before the injury.
"It's very tough, but he's a strong guy," Knight said. "Speaking to him after the injury, he's strong and he's going to be back fine; he's an inspiration to us all."
It’s yet another blow for the Pistons, who have lost Blake Griffin for the season, along with an extended absence for Luke Kennard, who has missed 32 games and last played on Dec. 21. The Pistons have had a disappointing season with the number of games they’ve missed, using 29 different starting lineups to try to plug the holes in the rotation.
“I’ve not seen anything like this in my years in the NBA and college, with as many starters as we’ve had (injured), and that’s the thing — you can handle one or two but as many as we’ve had, it’s very unusual,” Casey said. “We have a lot to look, to evaluate: recovery, strengthening … everything we have to look at going forward, because I don't know how many teams can survive this.
Hall is staying on
The Pistons also announced Tuesday forward Donta Hall had agreed to a second 10-day contract.
He has averaged 1.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 13.8 minutes in three games with the Pistons.
Casey was impressed in Hall’s first short stint, but still sees room for improvement.
“(Hall) played well against Denver played well against Phoenix and then didn't play as well against Sacramento,” Casey said. “I do like what he did. He protected the rim and then he did get mad at himself from getting hit by (Alex) Len and the other (Harry Giles) down there, then he made a muscle and played.”
The Pistons have an open roster spot after Walton's 10-day contract expired. They could look at other options, whether it's bringing Walton back on another deal, or pursuing another veteran.
Casey said the Pistons' front office still was pursuing options, but until then, Bruce Brown, who practiced on Tuesday, could be the third point guard.
Pistons vs. Thunder
Tip-off: 7 Wednesday, Little Caesars Arena
Outlook: The Pistons (20-42) have lost seven of their last eight and are shorthanded again, with more injuries to Bruce Brown, Thon Maker and Christian Wood. The Thunder (37-23) are vying for home-court advantage in the West, just two games behind the Rockets for fourth place.