Perhaps for many Detroit Pistons fans the concern never left. For the optimists among us, however, 2017-18 was all about the return of a healthy and effective Reggie Jackson.
That optimism might yet become a reality, but in the meantime there are discouraging signs about Jackson and it’s only early September.
The Pistons starting point guard, and the linchpin to the team’s offensive attack, is still not fully cleared for basketball activities, according to the Detroit Free Press.
His head coach is also saying that the plan is to hold Jackson out of two-a-day practices during training camp.
Perhaps this was always the plan, and a sign of the cautious approach the team should have taken last season as Jackson rehabbed from knee tendonosis and platet-rich plasma therapy.
Van Gundy said that Jackson’s offseason rehab was a 16-week plan focused on strengthening Jackson’s knee instead of typical offseason conditioning work.
The hope, reportedly, is to have Jackson visit doctors for a follow-up exam this week and clearance to start more intense basketball activity.
But Jackson is also a player who has had conditioning and breathing issues in the past, and the fact that he has done little more than focus on knee strengthening and light shooting with only weeks left before camp raises concerns.
Even in a best-case scenario where Jackson’s knee is truly healed, will he have enough time through training camp to get his conditioning up to a level where he is ready and able to be effective for 30 minutes per night on the court?
When talking about Jackson’s health struggles a month ago, Van Gundy put the point guard’s terrible season partly at a lack of confidence due to a lack of conditioning that led to a lack of explosiveness.
Whatever rehab schedule is necessary to get Jackson right would be worth it, but as the Pistons showed last year they are not a team that can be successful with a Jackson operating at 60 to 70 percent capacity.
If this elongated 16-week rehab schedule means Jackson’s conditioning and intensive training stretches into the season then the Pistons need to be prepared for that reality.
Van Gundy can’t afford to throw Jackson on the floor and let him work his way into effectiveness. He tried that for 52 games last season with disastrous results.