AUBURN HILLS – Reggie Jackson’s return will have to wait for another day. And he’ll have company in street clothes behind the Pistons bench tonight.
Or maybe not. Andre Drummond also won’t be in the lineup when the Pistons host Atlanta in preseason Game 2 – and he might not be in Little Caesars Arena at all.
Drummond has a case of conjunctivitis – pink eye – and its contagious nature might persuade the Pistons to keep him home, where he was for Friday’s morning shootaround.
“I don’t know if he can come tonight,” Stan Van Gundy said. “He’s fine. You’re not going to get pink eye sitting next to him, but if you’re out there banging around and sweating – and the sweating makes it worse, makes it more uncomfortable.”
Drummond is on medication, Van Gundy said, but the eye is swollen. They expect him back at practice on Sunday. Ditto for Jackson, who pulled out of practice earlier this week with a sore right abductor.
“He probably could (play tonight),” Van Gundy said, but director of sports medicine Jon Ishop “just felt that being able to give him today – and tomorrow’s an off day for us – well get him back” for Sunday’s practice.
Reggie Bullock also will be unavailable. His left knee, which underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage last December, might need to be drained, Van Gundy said, though the MRI showed no additional issues.
None of the news on the injury front is especially troublesome – not in light of reports that Charlotte’s Nic Batum suffered an elbow injury in the first minute of Wednesday’s Little Caesars opener that will sideline him six to eight weeks – but it does reduce the amount of time Jackson will get to spend with the unit he’ll be directing in less than two weeks for the Oct. 18 regular-season opener.
“A lot of precautionary things, nothing long term or major,” Van Gundy said. “It’s not great because obviously Reggie and Andre are two important guys and it’s two games in a row now without Reggie and now without Andre. You want to develop some chemistry with those guys who are going to play a lot, but that’s the way it is. We’ll get a look at some other guys, so that part will be good.”
Ish Smith again will start for Jackson and Jon Leuer will start for Drummond. Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson and Avery Bradley remain the other starters. Van Gundy wants to get looks at two players who didn’t play in Wednesday’s opener, Eric Moreland at center and Anthony Tolliver at power forward.