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KCP injures shoulder against Golden State Warriors

Pistons’ best defender lasted just four minutes against NBA’s best team

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope injured his shoulder after running into a screen early against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday and did not return.

After KCP collided with the Warriors defender he immediately clutched his shoulder and hunched over in pain. Detroit was forced to call a time out and Caldwell-Pope went to the locker room.

The team, which fell to Golden State 127-107, said KCP received X-rays on the shoulder and they were negative. The team also announced he would get an MRI on the shoulder Friday in Utah. There is no indication how much time Caldwell-Pope will miss.

KCP has been Detroit’s best player this season. He’s the best perimeter defender on the team, has his 3-point shooting at a dangerous 40 percent on more than five attempts per game.

What the Pistons will do if KCP misses significant time is an open question. Stanley Johnson played well subbing in for KCP and playing significant minutes. However, Darrun Hilliard was absolutely dreadful in reserve of Johnson. Against the Warriors he shot 2-of-12 and made poor decisions on both ends of the floor.

Perhaps facing the reality that Hilliard might not be up for the back-up minutes, Stan Van Gundy even dusted off the little-used Beno Udrih for 11 minutes. Udrih, who played well as the backup point guard when Reggie Jackson missed time early in the year had four points and four assists. His ability to move the ball and hit mid-range shots could allow him to play alongside Ish Smith and Jackson in a limited capacity.

Another contender for major minutes is Reggie Bullock, who has been out since Nov. 23 with a left knee injury. Bullock, who has been practicing recently after getting healthy is expected to rejoin the team in Utah. He was out to be with his family in Baltimore during the murder trial of the man accused of killing his sister.

Thursday, a jury aquitted Shawn Oliver of charges related to the stabbing death of Mia Henderson, Bullock’s sister.

Bullock is ostensibly the team’s best (only?) legitimately dangerous 3-point threat, and if he is able to find his shooting stroke immediately he could be just what Detroit needs as it looks to improve it’s offense.