Already beset by injuries to several potential rotation pieces, the Detroit Pistons got a bit of good news Wednesday when the team revealed Marvin Bagley avoided the most serious knee injury and only sustained an MCL sprain and bone bruise in Tuesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bagley will miss three to four weeks and then be re-evaluated, the team announced.
The Pistons big man started and played just one minute before crumpling to the floor with his leg twisting awkwardly after stepping on the foot of a Thunder player. Bagley could not put any pressure on his right leg and needed to be carried off the floor with the help of teammates.
The Pistons were already missing Nerlens Noel and Jalen Duren was playing in his first game back after sitting out previously with shoulder soreness. Other injuries on Detroit’s front line include Bojan Bogdanovic and Isaiah Livers, who are sidelined with minor injuries.
Detroit has one more preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies before kicking off the season Oct. 19 against the Orlando Magic. Based on the initial timetable, Bagley will miss at least 10 games to start the season.
Bagley signed a three-year, $37 million deal this offseason and looked to be a major part of Detroit’s big man rotation. The team does have some depth at center with incumbent starter Isaiah Stewart, the draft of 18-year-old Jalen Duren and trading for New York big man Noel.
Power forward is a different story, and the team was already flirting with playing Bagley and Stewart some healthy minutes at the four. The team did address its biggest positional weakness with a late offseason trade for Bogdanovic.
The Pistons could respond to the Bagley injury by going with a starting lineup of Stewart and Bogdanovic or, if they want more rim gravity at the center position, pushing Noel into active duty or handing the keys directly to Duren and having him learn the NBA game in the starting lineup alongside fellow rookie Jaden Ivey.