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Chris McCosky: Rasheed’s conditioning a concern

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Chris McCosky doesn't think Rasheed Wallace is in shape:

Q. You don't think he will keep Wallace benched, do you?

A. No, but I think Saunders is trying to send a message to Wallace. The playoffs are going to start in less than two weeks and Wallace is not in shape. Between injuries and suspensions, Wallace has not been able to get to or sustain a high level of conditioning all season. There is a reason he is shooting a career-low 42.6 percent.

He has, including the Knicks game Monday, six games to work himself into some kind of shape -- assuming he doesn't get another technical foul, which would sit him for another game.

The Pistons cannot win another championship without a healthy and focused Rasheed Wallace. They know that, and he knows that. He was cut a lot of slack throughout the season, with the thought being, "As long as he's fresh and ready for the playoffs, it's all good."

It's time now for Wallace to make good on the Pistons' faith and patience.

Unless a guy is Oliver Miller/Eddy Curry fat, I've always had a hard time determining if a guy's conditioning is an issue. But that's because I'm watching on TV; I assume sitting courtside and watching practice like McCosky does gives him a good vantage point on who's huffing and who's puffing.

So, how bad is this? Rasheed's conditioning has been mentioned all season. Early in the year, the excuse was that his balky ankle prevented him from working out too much in the offseason. What is it now? Is his finger injury really preventing him from hitting the treadmill? And if his conditioning is really an issue, can he really "get in shape" in just six games? I don't have a clue.

Honestly, I had been considering any missed games by any of the Pistons a blessing in disguise since the biggest gripe heading into the playoffs the past couple of years has been how much the Pistons have been overworked. But now there's a chance some of them have been under-worked? That's not what I was expecting to hear right about now.

Wallace needs to get in shape for playoffs [Detroit News]