Good news or bad news? I have no idea. But the prognosis is back on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who left Thursday’s loss early in the first quarter after injuring his shoulder.
KCP has a grade 2 left rotator cuff strain, according to the Detroit Pistons. He has been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz and is doubtful for Sunday’s west-coast finale against the Los Angeles Lakers.
One thing I’m confident in is that a grade 2 means no surgery is on the table for KCP, who has broken out this season and been Detroit’s all-around best player. Always the team’s best defender, KCP added the elusive offensive consistency this season. He is averaging career highs in true shooting percentage, 3-point percentage, free-throw percentage, rebound percentage and assist percentage.
However, just how significant a grade 2 strain is seems to vary depending on who you are asking. I’m certainly not a medical expert, but in looking through recent shoulder strain time tables, players seem to miss about a month. Jimmy Butler missed about a month of action after spraining his shoulder in 2015, for example. However, I’m seeing some optimism online that this will be a temporary setback.
I’m not sure how open Stan Van Gundy is going to be about a timetable for Caldwell-Pope’s return tonight, but we might find out more before the game against Utah.
As far as where the team goes from here, injuries have decimated the Pistons on the wing. KCP now joins Reggie Bullock and Michael Gbinije on the injured list, and it’s unsure what Van Gundy can expect from Stanley Johnson and Darrun Hilliard. Bullock’s return to the lineup is imminent, but Van Gundy still might look for an upgrade. There is still a month before the NBA trade deadline, after all.
Of course, that begs the question, whether Detroit is in any position at all to sacrifice future assets to salvage what remains of this season at its halfway point. The team is a disappointing 18-23 and sits 11th in the Eastern Conference.
An optimist might point to the fact that the team is a mere three games back from the fifth seed and has the point differential of a team that is 20-21.
The pessimist, however, would point out that the team is not growing as fast as it should and remains capped out for the foreseeable future. One (hopefully) last lottery pick might be awfully tempting.
Either way, losing KCP for any amount of time stinks. He’s easy to root for and seemed to be taking “the next step” in his career.
What do you think the Pistons should do, DBB?