Pistons rookie Killian Hayes 'progressing well' from hip injury
There might there be some good news coming regarding Pistons rookie Killian Hayes.
Hayes, who has been sidelined since early January because of a torn labrum in his right hip, could be ramping up for a return to action.
“It'll be the eight-week mark, so we'll provide an update next week, but he's progressing well and it been exciting to see him grow and come back from this setback,” Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said Tuesday. “He's been working diligently, and he looks great. We'll have an update next week and we're excited to have him join the team shortly.”
That’s welcome news for the Pistons, who have had something of a revolving door with their point guards this season. They’ve had six different point guards in the rotation, including Hayes, Delon Wright, Derrick Rose, Dennis Smith Jr., Saben Lee and Frank Jackson, as they’ve deal with injuries and the eventual trade of Rose last month.
The Pistons said after Hayes sustained the injury on Jan. 4 that they would provide an update in 8-10 weeks. Hayes sustained the non-contact injury against the Milwaukee Bucks and recently has been doing some light shooting, but he hasn't been cleared for full basketball activities.
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Hayes, 19, was the No. 7 pick in last year’s draft and had a rough start to the season in his first seven games, posting 4.6 pts, 3.6 assts, 28% FG in seven games. There was some concern that Hayes might need surgery, which would have ended his season, but it wasn’t so severe that surgery was necessary. He has done rehabilitation and apparently is close to returning to the lineup, possibly this month.
Because of the injury, Hayes is one of the few pieces in the rebuild that still has some question to it. The Pistons’ other draft picks, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Lee, have all been solid, but Weaver wasn’t ready to gauge the rebuild as a success already, but he likes what coach Dwane Casey and his staff have been able to achieve, despite the 10-26 record in the first half of the season.
“We'll really look at it in its totality at the end of the season. We are a work in progress moving forward,” Weaver said. “There are a lot of challenges still ahead and the trade deadline is still coming up. As far as where we are in the restoring, I'll let (the media) be the judge of that.
“I like where we are. Coach and his staff and the players have done an incredible job of coming in every day and setting the tone and trying to move the ball forward every day.”
Last season’s 20-46 record, coupled with a slow start this season, could cause some to question whether Casey has job security. With two more years left on his contract, and the notion that a new general manager could want his own coach, there might be speculation.
Weaver extinguished the doubt and gave unequivocal support of what Casey has done and what his future will be with the Pistons.
“I absolutely and believe that we have the best coach in the world for what we're going through, with his steadiness and the way he sets the tone with these guys,” Weaver said. “They often say the team takes on the personality of the coach — and that's happened. These guys have been steady; they come in and do their job every day, and that's who coach Casey is.
“He has really set the tone inside the ball club about doing the right things and competing every day, whether it's practice, shootaround or a game. That's afforded us to feel good of where we are in spite of the record. So, I would say I feel good where we are in the restoring.”
Plumlee on the block?
Mason Plumlee was one of the main targets in free agency for the Pistons. As it turns out, it wasn’t just Weaver’s idea about adding the veteran center, who has been a big surprise for the Pistons, averaging 10.4 points and 9.1 rebounds this season.
“Mason has been tremendous. For coach Casey, this was his No. 1 guy and he really wanted him for our ball club because of the different skills that he brings, the experience, and the locker room presence,” Weaver said. “Coach was dead-on. This guy has been tremendous for us. He's really helped young guys and he's really stepped his game up.
“I'm sure a lot of people questioned it early on but coach really was beating the drum with Mason and we had a lot of good talks about Mason before we signed him and I'm happy for Mason's success and for coach's vision for him.
Plumlee, 30, has been solid for the Pistons this season, but as contending teams try to solidify their rosters ahead of the trade deadline, Plumlee’s name has come up in some trade rumors, potentially for teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, who could use a veteran center with Plumlee’s skill set.
Weaver wouldn’t say that there isn’t a trade that would suit them, but he’s not looking to part with Plumlee. The trade deadline sometimes gets unpredictable, with teams getting more eager to improve their teams and to make some interesting deals.
That’s also possible.
“As far as the trade deadline, I'm not sure what's going to come our way with Mason, but we're extremely happy with him right now,” Weaver said.