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Glenn Robinson III close to return, Ish Smith weeks away

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GRIII could return for Detroit’s upcoming roadtrip

NBA: New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons are scuffling but reinforcements are on their way. Glenn Robinson III has been out since a badly sprained ankle suffered Dec. 10 against the Philadelphia 76ers, but the team says he could see in-game action as early as this weekend.

Ish Smith, meanwhile, has been MIA since tearing an abductor muscle Dec. 7 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, Smith isn’t quite as close to returning as Robinson, with re-evaluation planned in two to three weeks, according to the team.

Robinson has resumed basketball activity, according to Pistons Medical Director Bernard Codnevaux, with a goal of seeing the floor at some point in Detroit’s four-game road trip that begins Friday at Indiana.

Smith is participating in limited on-court activity, according to the team, including strength work, light running and light shooting. The team says they will monitor Smith’s progress over the next few weeks as they ramp up his activity level.

Robinson, who gained a starting small forward spot and then seemed likely to lose it just before getting injured, faces an unknown future in Detroit’s rotation. Luke Kennard can shoot, but he’s not hitting his shots. Bruce Brown can defend but he can’t hit a lick from the perimeter, and when Robinson was playing he seemed to be struggling at just about everything.

Detroit’s starting small forward spot has been an absolute mess so if Robinson plays and starts hitting open looks he will be welcomed back with opens arms.

Smith, meanwhile, has been a rotation staple and has even been finishing games alongside or in place of starting point guard Reggie Jackson. Smith’s energy and pace has been greatly missed and he can’t get back soon enough. In his place, Jose Calderon has done plenty of distributing but very little shot-making.