Will Reggie Jackson be available when the Detroit Pistons open training camp?
Will he be a full go at practices?
According to the Detroit Free Press‘ Vince Ellis, the 27-year-old point guard isn’t yet all the way back from the left knee injury that derailed his 2016-17 campaign:
It’s all about ensuring Jackson, who has yet to fully resume basketball activities, is fully recovered from left knee tendinitis and is ready to go Oct. 18.
“He should be good to go for the start of camp,” Van Gundy said after the Little Caesars Arena ribbon-cutting ceremony today.
“I don’t think on the days we do two-a-days that we’ll have him do two (practices), but other than that, the hope is he’ll be ready to go.
“You never know, but he should be.”
This news falls short of ominous, but it’s also miles from ideal. Jackson, as Ellis noted, is nearing the tail end of a 16-week recovery process, so it doesn’t seem like his status has caught the Pistons off-guard. But this team has a lot of work to do if it’s going to improve upon last year’s 37-win letdown, and not having Jackson available for every step of training camp could steepen the grace period they’ll need to start the season.
Any delays on that front might prove detrimental. The Eastern Conference’s middle class isn’t going to run away from the Pistons, but Van Gundy does need to pass judgement on this roster and decide whether it’s worth staying the course. Jackson’s future is a part of that process.
Though he has three years and $51.1 million left on his deal, the Pistons were statistically better on both sides of the ball without him last season, according to NBA.com. If it doesn’t look like he’ll recapture 2015-16 form, they’ll need to shop him aggressively. And yet, if he’s still suffering from the effects of that knee injury or simply not playing up to snuff with this iteration of the Pistons, Van Gundy probably won’t find any takers for his pact.
Hence the dilemma.
The Pistons need Jackson to be his 2015-16 self, because they don’t have an obvious contingency in place if he’s not. It makes sense, then, that they’re bringing him along slowly and cautiously. They have to get his latest return right.