Brandon Jennings is still a game-time decision for the Pistons Sunday night against the Celtics (update: he's playing, see below), but he was able to practice Saturday with his teammates. When he does return, he'll be sporting a protective mask -- something that he's not yet comfortable wearing. From Keith Langlois at Pistons.com:
"It’s just a process," he said following Saturday’s Pistons practice [...] . "When you have a broken jaw, you can’t just come back and start chewing everything. I’m still eating soft food right now."
[...] Whenever Jennings, who lost a relatively modest 6 pounds while his jaw was immobilized, returns he will have to wear a protective mask for an undetermined period.
"It’s very uncomfortable," he said. "I’m not used to having injuries, so I really don’t know how to play with having something on, especially my face. It doesn’t affect my vision, it’s once I get sweaty it moves around a little bit so I’m always having to fix it up a little bit. Just something I have to get used to."
Langlois reports that Mo Cheeks isn't sure how he'll use Jennings, but speculates that it's unlikely he'll start in his first game. That's not too surprising, especially given the weight loss. Whether it's as a starter or reserve, Jennings knows that he needs to get familiar with his jumbo-sized frontcourt:
"Myself and the big, we need to know each other, how we play," he said. "And it’s also big to have a shooter in the pick and roll. It’s not always the guy who’s in the pick and roll, it’s the guy who’s replacing the roll guy. It’s important to have all those options.
"I think we have a dominant frontcourt, so it’s going to be important that we get those guys the ball, especially Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. Drummond, we really don’t run plays for him, but he finds a way to always get the ball and score points for us. I definitely have been paying attention. This year, my goal is to live in the paint. That way, I can make things happen for everybody."
Detroit's starting backcourt was in flux before Rodney Stuckey and Jennings went down in the preseason. Now that they're (almost) both back in the fold, I'm curious to see who wins out.
Cheeks has already said he likes Bynum playing with the second unit, so you have to imagine he heads back to the bench when Jennings is ready. But will Chauncey Billups continue to start at the two-guard spot, or will he be replaced by Rodney Stuckey? We'll find out soon -- if not today, perhaps later this week.
Update: Just as I hit publish ...
Jennings playing .. Same starters— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) November 3, 2013