Ish Smith suffered a right abductor muscle tear in the Detroit Pistons’ Dec. 5 loss to Milwaukee, the team announced today.
Smith left the game in the second quarter in obvious discomfort and headed immediately for the locker room. An MRI revealed the extent of the injury, and the team said Smith would be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Smith is averaging 9.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists for the Pistons this season, and has been a key rotation piece at the point guard position.
DeMar DeRozan suffered a torn abductor muscle in the 2014-15 season and missed 21 games from Nov. 30 to Jan. 12.
In that game, DeRozan spent minutes in obvious pain and hand to be helped off the floor. Smith, while obviously hurt, seemed more annoyed than anything and walked off under his own power. That doesn’t mean the injury is any less severe, as the team has already confirmed it is not a strain but a muscle tear.
Last season, Devin Booker suffered a painful groin injury that kept him on the floor as well, and he had to be carried off the floor. That was determined to only be a strain, and that kept him out nine games in the span of three weeks.
So, the Pistons will be without Smith for between 3-5 weeks as a conservative guess.
The team was already thin at the point guard position with Reggie Jackson looking to still find his way in the offensive system and playing a lot like and as an off-ball guard.
The new backup point guard position could either go to savvy (read: probably washed) veteran Jose Calderon or the team could turn to a not-really-a-point-guard point guard option.
That could be Langston Galloway, but he’s already pressed into starters’ duties for the time being with the Reggie Bullock injury. It could be the resurrection of the point Kennard experiment, but Luke is just returning from injury himself.
The team could give second-round rookie Bruce Brown more run as a backup point guard but he’s even worse on offense than Smith.
Detroit’s thinnest position being tested during the team’s hardest stretch of the schedule is certainly not ideal, but in the end maybe it will give consistent minutes and skill development to the players Detroit needs on the floor to succeed — aka all the players who can legitimately make a 3-point shot.
That would be Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Langston Galloway, Luke Kennard — one point guard and three shooting guards. If head coach Dwane Casey can find a mix that allows all four big minutes spread between the 1-3 positions then Detroit might finally find a way out of their offensive funk.
We just won’t mention the need for point guards to do point guard things to enable an effective offense other than to say BLAKE GRIFFIN.