Emerging shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope injured his left knee and had to be helped off the floor and into the locker room Sunday after he slipped on a wet spot during the Pistons 91-89 loss to the Washington Wizards.
The second-year player writhed in pain and was clutching his knee in a sign that longtime sports watchers dread as it looked like a possible ACL tear. The team is calling the injury a left knee sprain pending further tests, but it seems like the Pistons might have gotten lucky.
After the game, Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois caught a glimpse of Caldwell-Pope and the sight couldn't have been better:
MRI will be final arbiter on KCP's knee but general sense is #Pistons dodged a bullet. He was walking without aid tonight.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) October 13, 2014
UPDATE: Official word has come in and it's extremely good news for KCP and the Pistons.
Good news on KCP front: SVG says in text MRI clear. Muscle irritation and not a long term concern. No timetable for return. #Pistons— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) October 13, 2014
UPDATE 2: Check out the official team press release here, which includes a timetable:
KCP's left knee reclassified as sprain. MRI shows no structural damage. He'll be held out against CHA, ORL and ATL and re-evaluated nxt wk.— Jake Chapman (@JakePistons) October 13, 2014
Rest of original story follows.
If it truly is just a strain or hyper-extension, Caldwell-Pope will miss a little time, but if he tore his ACL he would be out for the season.
But missing any time is unfortunate as KCP was in the midst of truly breaking out and cementing his status as the starting shooting guard for the Pistons. And as a charter member of the KCP fan club it was nice to see him grow so much from the struggles that plagued him his rookie year.
During his rookie year, he was largely a catch-and-shoot player who couldn't connect from deep. Caldwell-Pope averaged 5.9 points on 39.6 percent shotoing and 31.9 percent from 3 and slowly lost minutes in the rotation as the season wore on.
But he scored 30 points, had 6 rebounds, 2 steals and a block in last year's final game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it gave fans a reason to be excited headed into the offseason. And rather than a one-game aberration, KCP's elevated play carried over into the summer league where he dominated some inferior competition.
But Summer League is one thing and NBA games, even preseason ones, are a whole other challenge. But KCP again stepped up and averaged 16.6 points per game in three preseason contests while shooting 51 percent overall and 46 percent from 3-point range. And he was also the most gifted and promising perimeter defender on the Pistons roster.
No official word will be handed down before an MRI is conducted, but keep your fingers crossed. Assuming Caldwell-Pope is out for any extended period of time, Jodie Meeks becomes the starting shooting guard by default and Cartier Martin probably slides in to fill the role as first shooting guard off the bench.