The Detroit Pistons are contemplating shutting down point guard Reggie Jackson for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury, according to Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy.
In Detroit’s 14-point loss to the New York Knicks last night, Jackson was inactive for the game due to his ailment, and Van Gundy told the media following the Pistons’ fourth straight loss that team management has been considering shutting down Jackson for a while now:
“We’ve been thinking about this, actually for a long time,” Van Gundy said. “He’s probably been playing at 80 percent, When you get into this stretch of games in March, where we’re playing at, the fatigue is just making it worse.”
Jackson is unlikely to play for the Pistons tonight in a crucial game against the Miami Heat that could all but determine the team’s playoff fate. Ish Smith is listed as the Pistons starter tonight at point guard alongside Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the backcourt. Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris, and Andre Drummond will make up the front court.
Beno Udrih will likely serve as the backup point guard to Smith tonight, as Udrih regularly serves as the 3rd string backup when both Jackson and Smith are healthy and not on the inactive list.
A major reason why the Pistons have struggled this season can be linked to Jackson’s down year that started off rocky right before the regular season ever began. During training camp, Jackson suffered a left knee injury that caused him to miss the team’s first 21 games. In Jackson’s absence, the Pistons held their own, but after Jackson returned from injury, that’s when the struggles started to happen.
Detroit just couldn’t get their offense back on track when Jackson came back, and Van Gundy helped sympathize for Jackson recently:
“It wasn’t really fair to him — we were running him out there, putting pressure on him and he’s seeing things he should be able to do and he just can’t do them,” Van Gundy said. “He’s not feeling pain, but he just can’t make the plays he wants to make. And we’re trying to put him out there.”
After tonight, the Pistons will have 7 games left, and game number 75 for them is projected to be a loss according to odds makers. A loss against Miami would push the Pistons further back in the Eastern Conference playoff race, making the decision to shutdown Jackson a possibly very easy one to make someday.
The 26-year-old Jackson is averaging 14.5 points, 5.2 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game this season.
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