Since the moment the Detroit Pistons won the NBA Draft Lottery and Pistons legend Ben Wallace wagged his index finger, fans have been eagerly anticipating the first game of Cade Cunningham in a Pistons uniform.
Well, you’re just going to have to wait a little bit longer. Cunningham, who has been nursing a sore ankle for several days and unable to practice during most of training camp, has officially been ruled out of Detroit’s first preseason game Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs.
The injury is not thought to be serious, and the team has stressed they are simply being extremely cautious with their prized first overall pick. Dwane Casey, however, has reiterated at the past few practices that he would want to get Cunningham a few practices under his belt before he saw the floor in preseason action.
That means he might not just miss the opener versus the Spurs, but also miss Monday’s contest against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Also ruled out for the Spurs game is 3-point specialist Frank Jackson who is also dealing with an ankle injury. The injury report doesn’t stop there as the end of the training camp roster is also going to be MIA with Jared Cunningham, Cassius Stanley and Derrick Walton Jr. also ruled out.
Killian Hayes is listed as questionable with an ankle sprain of his own.
Not exactly the start that hungry Pistons fans are hoping for, but the regular season matters a whole heck of a lot more than the preseason. Still, it’s disappointing to see Cunningham miss time.
“We’re going to be cautious. It’s disappointing because this time is for integrating him and he’s missed a lot of time,” Casey told the media early Tuesday before the team’s injury report was officially released.
With Cunningham out, that likely opens up a spot in the starting lineup that would likely go to either Cory Joseph or Hamidou Diallo. His absence together with Frank Jackson’s also creates a bit more playing time for players like Saben Lee and Josh Jackson. And that’s doubly true if Hayes misses the game as well.
Here’s to hoping Hayes plays, Diallo goes off, Isaiah Stewart does something disgustingly great on defense, Lee puts someone on a poster and Luka Garza does an incredibly ordinary thing that gets the fan base irrationally excited.