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Amir Johnson can’t return to Sioux Falls for NBDL playoffs

Now that Detroit's regular season is complete, the Pistons were hoping to send Amir Johnson back to Sioux Falls for the rest of the NBDL playoffs -- he enjoyed playing down there, and there's certainly nothing wrong giving a young player minutes in a pressure situation. Unfortunately for Amir (and more so for his teammates back in South Dakota) the rules don't allow him to return. From the Argus Leader:

In an e-mail, [NBDL] vice president of communications Kent Partridge said that it is written in the D-League operations manual that players had to be on a team's postseason roster as of 2 p.m. Sunday in order to be eligible for the postseason.

The 19-year-old Johnson was not. He was recalled by the Pistons on Friday, after the team clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference. That way, Detroit's front office could see their restricted free agent get minutes in an NBA setting.

However, Sioux Falls coach Mo McHone said that he was told by a D-League official last Wednesday that Johnson would be allowed to return for the D-League playoffs if he completed the regular season in Detroit.

He was still under that impression following Tuesday's first-round playoff victory against Fort Worth, telling a group of reporters that Johnson would certainly rejoin the team - in its first year in the D-League - later this week.

But upon leaving the locker room, he saw Skyforce co-owner Greg Heineman, who related word that Johnson's status for the playoffs was in question.

"I've talked to the (Pistons), and they're very upset, because they really wanted him to come back - because they know the kid really wants to come back," said McHone, whose team will play at Dakota at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Eastern Conference championship game.

"They also know that had they given him the same opportunity or said, 'Amir, you can come up, but if you do come up you won't be able to play in the championship round,' I think they feel - as well as I do - he'd have said, 'No, I want to stay.' "

So it ends. Most likely, we won't see Johnson again until next season (or probably, the summer league), though there's at least a chance -- no matter how slim -- that he could see action during the Pistons' playoff run.

Johnson won't return to Force [Argus Leader]