Jodie Meeks will miss a couple of months after a CAT scan Monday revealed a stress reaction in his lower back, Stan Van Gundy told reporters Tuesday. Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News was the first to report the news on Twitter.
Meeks was a late scratch to Thursday's preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks -- so late, in fact, he was even introduced by Mason. He was originally diagnosed with back spasms after waking up that morning with tightness in his back. After sitting out Thursday and Sunday, further examination Monday revealed the extent of his injury.
Meeks has no idea how he hurt his back. Didn't take a hit, didn't fall. Woke up Thursday feeling back tightness. Had CAT scan Monday.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) October 14, 2014
Meeks was a late scratch to the 2nd preseason game, then had a CAT scan yesterday. Vertebrae injury similar to Drummond's rookie year— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) October 14, 2014
Drummond has shown no lasting effects of the stress reaction he suffered his rookie year, which bodes well for the Meeks' long-term future. But in the short term, the Pistons are suddenly short-handed at the shooting guard spot, which was one of the deepest positions on the depth chart just one week ago.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is recovering from a strained left knee suffered in Sunday's game against the Wizards. KCP will miss at least three games before being re-evaluated, leaving hope he could return in time for the start of the regular season in two weeks on Oct. 29.
But for the rest of this week -- the Pistons visit the Hornets on Wednesday, the Magic on Friday and the Hawks on Saturday -- expect to see a big lineup featuring Kyle Singler, Caron Butler and Cartier Martin spending time at shooting guard. The trickle down effect will obviously disrupt the rest of the rotation, meaning we'll see Josh Smith return to small forward for stretches, as well. Expect to see even sloppier basketball than usual for the preseason, since playing on the road this week won't allow for much time on the practice court.
SVG will start Smith/Drummond/Monroe vs. CHA tomorrow. Says he'll play them about 6-9 minutes together per half.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) October 14, 2014
In his lone preseason game against the Bulls, Meeks scored 13 points in 25 minutes. He shot 4-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. Meeks was Detroit's biggest free agent acquisition this past summer, signing a three-year, $19.5 million deal after averaging career-high marks with 15.7 points, .463 field-goal percentage, .401 3-point percentage, 1.8 assists and 33.2 minutes per game in 2013-14 with the Lakers.
All of the news coming out of today's practice wasn't bad, though: Will Bynum and Spencer Dinwiddie both went full-court during 5-on-5 today, reports David Mayo of MLive. Bynum could return this weekend, and Van Gundy said that Dinwiddie could play in the final preseason game.
Update: The Pistons released the following press release this afternoon:
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. –The Detroit Pistons announced today that guard Jodie Meeks will be out of the line-up for approximately eight weeks due to a stress reaction of the lower back. The injury was discovered following a CAT scan conducted on Monday, October 13 by team medical personnel.
Meeks was originally diagnosed with back spasms on October 9 and underwent additional testing as discomfort continued to exist. Meeks’ activity levels will be modified while the injury heals. He will be re-evaluated on a regular basis and his status will be updated at the end of the eight-week period. Team doctors anticipate a full recovery with rest and rehabilitation.
Meeks signed with Detroit as a free agent on July 14, 2014. He scored 13 points with four rebounds in the club’s first preseason game against Chicago (10/7). The 6-4, 208-pound guard has career averages of 9.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 24.3 minutes in 355 games (194 starts).
It's fortunate that the injury occurred so early in the preseason. Eight weeks from today is Dec. 9 -- if Meeks were actually able to return in time for Detroit's game Dec. 12 in Phoenix, he will have missed 22 games. Cross your fingers.