Chauncey Billups is hobbling a bit with a thigh injury suffered eight days ago against the Lakers, and to make matters worse, he also suffered a minor hand injury on Saturday. Given Carlos Arroyo's spotty play lately, the Pistons may have no other choice than to speed up Lindsey Hunter's return, which wasn't originally expected to be until after the All-Star break. From the Detroit News:
In the last five games, since injuring his thigh, he has averaged 13.2 points (below his season average of 18.8) and shooting 34 percent. He has missed 13 of his last 14 three-point attempts and, a 92-percent free-throw shooter, he's missed four free throws in the last four games.
"You are going to get bumps and bruises through an 82-game schedule," Billups said. "I've been pretty healthy all season, so I ain't complaining. But this is as bad as I've felt all year."
Billups injured his hand fighting through a screen in the second quarter.
"I got it hit and it swelled up," he said. "Every time I touched the ball, it felt like I had a (blister) on it or something. I will be all right."
The Pistons just played four games in five days, with each game played in a different city. They now have four games over the next six days, again, with each game played in a different city. Even for players that aren't battling injury, the Pistons are grinding right now through a tough travel schedule.
Flip Saunders didn't indicate exactly how soon Hunter could return, but according to the News, the veteran point guard is healthy and simply trying to get back into game-shape. Arroyo has been the subject of trade rumors all season, and given the club's reluctance to give him extended minutes during a time that Billups could clearly use the extra rest, it seems pretty clear that there just might be something behind all of the speculation. He didn't help his standing with the team at all by missing the team's flight to Philly -- he caught up with the team for Friday's game by flying commercial and was likely fined.
Bumps, bruises hamper Billups [Detroit News]