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Reggie Jackson is back, starting for Detroit Pistons

Jackson will be limited to 15 minutes in his first game back from ankle injury

NBA: New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Jackson is back. The Detroit Pistons point guard, who has been sidelined since Dec. 26 with a severe ankle injury is finally making his return to the floor.

Jackson will start and be limited to roughly 15 minutes overall and 3-4 minutes per quarter, as reported by the Detroit Free Press.

It is too late for the Pistons to make a real playoff push, but it will be interesting to see how Jackson’s reinsertion into the lineup can help make sense of an often helpless offense that was struggling to fit Ish Smith, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond together.

Jackson is a much more natural fit alongside Detroit’s talented, highly paid and hugely important front court duo. He can create his own shot and force defenses to scramble with his driving ability coupled with a respectable jumper that doesn’t allow his defender to sag into the paint as was the case with Smith.

The Pistons were a respectable 19-14 until Jackson went down — once again showing that as goes Detroit’s controversial point guard so go the Pistons. Once Jackson’s offense was out of the lineup the production of everyone on the floor struggled.

With Jackson, Tobias Harris was a borderline All-Star. Without Jackson, he was struggling to find quality looks and asked to do too much on his own. Once Harris was traded to the Clippers his play returned to near-excellent form.

The thinking (hope? prayer? necessity?) is that the same would be the case for a Jackson-Griffin tandem. Griffin has seen his efficiency crater in Detroit as he is asked to essentially be the entire Detroit offense. With Jackson back in the fold, Griffin could actually have a teammate that can create a quality open look for him.

Of course, that is all predicated on Jackson being healthy. Last year, Jackson was far from his normal self after missing the first 20 games of the season. He was playing at 60 to 70 percent, notably missing his burst, and his all-around game suffered for it. Jackson was one of the worst regular starters in the NBA last year as he struggled to regain his form.

This year he looked much more like the player who guided Detroit to a 44-win season two years ago.

He is averaging 14.6 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 turnovers on a line of .446/.339/.840.