The Detroit Pistons will be without two key big men as the team announced Isaiah Stewart and Mike Muscala would both miss time with an ankle injury and concussion, respectively. Stewart will be re-evaluated in 10-14 days, while Muscala will be unable to return to basketball activities until completing a mandated return-to-participation process, the team said.
Stewart most recently missed Detroit’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers after rolling his ankle in the team’s previous contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The fourth-year big man has been dealing with ankle injuries and been in and out of the lineup since mid-December. Of the team’s last 22 games, Stewart has missed 12. On the season, he is averaging 11 points, 6.8 rebounds and is shooting 37% from deep on nearly four attempts per game, spending most his time as the team’s power forward.
Muscala has played a key role as a reserve big man for Detroit after being sparsely used for the Washington Wizards. Since coming to Detroit along with Danilo Gallinari in a trade for Marvin Bagley and Isaiah Livers, Muscala has averaged 3.9 points, and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 44% from 3 and playing quality defense across seven games.
The 10th-year player replaced Stewart in the starting lineup against the Cavs, but he collided with Evan Mobley just 4 minutes into the game and left with a head injury. It was eventually diagnosed as a concussion.
The absence opens up more opportunities for Galinari to contribute as the backup center, and likely means that Kevin Knox will once again fill in for Stewart in the starting lineup. It could also open up a pathway for spot minutes for James Wiseman, who has only seen the floor for 4:33 since the Pistons made the trade for the two stretch bigs.