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After surgery, McDyess questionable for Game 4

From Keith Langlois of

McDyess broke his nose midway through the third quarter of Friday’s nightmarish Game 3 loss at Wachovia Center and returned to Detroit where he underwent successful surgery Saturday at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital as performed by Dr. Gene Rontal. McDyess’ status for Game 4 is listed as questionable.

If McDyess is unable to go, the Pistons likely would replace him in the starting lineup with third-year forward Jason Maxiell. They would still have plenty of depth available to them with Theo Ratliff and Amir Johnson coming off the bench, as well as Walter Herrmann, who has been on the inactive list through the first three games of the first-round series.

[...] McDyess has been matched up defensively to start games against Philadelphia rookie Thaddeus Young, who has gotten off to fast offensive starts in all three games. Young has scored 10, 11 and 10 points in the first three games of the series. Long and athletic, Young might be a better physical matchup for Johnson, though it’s unlikely the Pistons would thrust (sic -- trust?) the inexperienced Johnson enough to start him.

I'd love to see it happen, but I don't think it will, and sadly for all the wrong reasons. Starting Amir Johnson would be admitting that DNP-ing him in Game 1 and sitting him until the game was well out of hand in Game 3 was a mistake, and coaches rarely do that until they're facing an elimination game. To be honest, I haven't seen a coach so reluctant to give a guy a chance since Rick Carlisle finally relented and put Tayshaun Prince on Tracy McGrady in 2003.

But unlike McGrady, Young isn't one of the league's truly extraordinary talents -- he's one of the very small handful of players in this league who's actually younger than Amir Johnson. Why in the world would you keep throwing veterans who are 10-15 years older than Young and continue to be surprised when the Pistons look slow? If McDyess can't play, I'm all for matching up Maxiell with Reggie Evans and Johnson with Young; who actually gets the start or plays more minutes is irrelevant.

Update: The "wait a minute, maybe the Pistons should play Amir" meme is catching on. A. Sherrod Blakely weighs in and got a quote from Amir:

Saunders said if McDyess doesn't play, he would be replaced by Jason Maxiell, Theo Ratliff or possibly Amir Johnson.

Of the three, Johnson might be the most intriguing possibility.

With Philadelphia going with a smaller lineup that includes Thaddeus Young at power forward -- he's really a long small forward -- Johnson might be a better match up for Detroit.

"We are kind of the same with our quickness," Johnson said. "I just have to stay ready and wait to be called on. And when I get a chance to play, don't make mistakes and just try and help the team win."