Detroit — The injury bug is turning into an injury pterodactyl.
The Pistons have been bitten by injuries for most of training camp and the preseason schedule — and the list of the walking wounded seems to be getting longer with every passing day.
As No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham’s recovery from a sprained ankle stretches into a second week, the Pistons now are down two more starters. Saddiq Bey sustained a sprained left ankle in Monday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, and Killian Hayes is in the concussion protocol.
Hayes will miss Wednesday’s preseason game against the New York Knicks, and Bey is questionable, pending treatment leading up to the game.
“(Bey) turned his ankle (Monday) night and he’s a little gimpy,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We’ll see how he goes (Wednesday); we’re down a lot of men.
“Usually in training camp, you have guys like Isaiah Livers, a lot of guys that are a little nicked up and they don’t get reps in practice. We’re down a few men as far as reps in practice, so the starters are getting a lot of reps — which is good on one hand, but yet when something like an ankle comes up, you’ve got to have those guys in there.
Casey added the preliminary indications are that Bey’s ankle issue isn’t serious, but they’ll continue to monitor his progress.
Cunningham’s lingering injury issues are becoming the big story of training camp, as the rookie has missed the first two preseason games and is trending toward missing the final two as well. If Cunningham’s status doesn’t improve, his availability for the regular-season opener Oct. 20 against the Chicago Bulls also will be in question.
Casey insists the team and medical staff are being cautious with Cunningham’s ankle and that they don’t want him to turn a minor injury into a major one during the preseason, which could lead to an extended absence during the regular season.
“We’re not going to rush Cade back. When he comes back, it doesn’t mean he’s ready to go and that we’ll just throw him out there and see what happens,” Casey said. “He’s too valuable for us. Whatever it is, we’ll sit down and meet with his team and the medical team and myself and (general manager) Troy (Weaver) and map out a plan.
“We just don’t want to rush him back and reinjure it.”
While he’s been injured, Cunningham has been doing mental reps during practice, watching intently from the sideline and getting a better understanding of the offensive and defensive schemes. He’s done some light shooting work at the end of practice as well, which would seem to suggest that there isn’t much danger of further injury at this point.
In his transition to the NBA, Cunningham needs to be in the fray to experience game rhythm and the contact that goes with playing with the veterans, not just in the Summer League, where Cunningham was a standout.
“The young man’s missed valuable time as far as the speed of the game, the physicality of the game, the sets and the…
Read More: Cunningham, Hayes out vs. Knicks 2021-10-12 23:32:48