The Detroit Pistons might be getting a belated Christmas present, as injured reserve Reggie Bullock returned to practice after a little over a month.
Bullock tore his left meniscus in a late November game against the Miami Heat. The team has been pretty mum on a timetable for his return, though the reliable Shams Charania reported shortly after the injury Bullock would opt for surgery and be out 2-4 months.
Little more than one month after that report Bullock was a practice participant and could return to the lineup “soon,” according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News.
#Pistons Reggie Bullock (torn meniscus) practiced today and could return to the lineup soon.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) January 4, 2017
Bullock has been limited to 42 minutes this season, but the team was relying on him to be an important piece off the bench as a perimeter threat that could open up the floor and improve spacing.
Last season, Bullock emerged late in the season and ended the year hitting 41 percent of his 3s. The team was so confident in the trio of Darrun Hilliard, Stanley Johnson and Bullock that Stan Van Gundy traded Jodie Meeks to the Orlando Magic in the offseason.
Meeks was the most dangerous 3-point threat in Detroit but scuffled with injury and didn’t see a spot for him in the rotation. It was reported at the time that Meeks asked for a trade and a fresh start elsewhere, and Van Gundy obliged.
With Bullock out, Detroit has been desperate for 3-point shooting and consistent bench production all season. Johnson has taken a step back on offense and Hilliard struggled in the rotation.
Meeks, meanwhile, recovered from another foot surgery and has played 16 games of solid basketball in Orlando. Playing 20 minutes a night and hitting nearly 43 percent of his 3s on nearly 4 attempts per game.
Detroit is near the bottom of the league in both 3-point attempts and 3-point shooting.
If Bullock does re-enter the rotation, it will be interesting to see who loses out. It could mean Johnson is once again banished back to the bench or Van Gundy could opt to shave off some minutes from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Marcus Morris.