It would be difficult to cope with tendinitis in one knee.
Luke Kennard has been dealing with the issue in both knees.
It has gotten progressively worse, so the Detroit Pistons announced the third-year shooting guard will miss the next two weeks.
For Kennard, it’s a chance to heal an issue that’s recurring since the offseason.
“It always in my mind, kind of gets my mind in different places while I’m playing,” Kennard said Thursday morning. “I just haven’t been myself in that aspect. This period of time, just working to get back to where I need to be, back 100%, back to where I can make a big impact for the team.
“Nothing to be down about, just know I’m not too far away from getting back to where I was.”
Kennard is averaging 15.8 points per game and shooting 39.9% from 3-point range. The timeline says he will miss the upcoming six-game trip which starts Saturday night at San Antonio.
It’s yet another injury setback for the Pistons (12-20), who are slowly realizing competing for a playoff spot is a pipe dream – even in the lowly Eastern Conference.
Offensive hub Blake Griffin has missed nearly half the games.
Backup point guard Derrick Rose has missed six games.
Reggie Jackson has been out for two months with a stress reaction in his lower back.
With the latest news, Svi Mykhailiuk and Thon Maker are the only players who have been available for every game this season.
With Kennard missing at least the next six games, here’s a look at some implications:
More opportunity for Svi
Mykhailiuk, 22, received the start in place of Kennard for the Pistons’ 132-102 victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
He continued his good 3-point shooting for the season, going 4-for-9 in scoring 12 points.
He has been solid this season; he is shooting 43% from 3-point range this season.
The Pistons liked Mykhailiuk in the 2018 NBA draft, but selected Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown in the second round. Mykhailiuk was later selected by the L.A. Lakers.
A four-year player at Kansas, he starred for the Lakers’ summer-league team and their Gatorade League affiliate.
The Pistons acquired Mykhailiuk and a future second-round pick for Reggie Bullock before the February 2019 trade deadline.
He broke his thumb shortly afterward, making for a lost rookie season.
He had a strong offseason, which put him in line for a rotation spot, but struggled in preseason, ultimately receiving four DNP-CDs to start the season.
But with the injury issues, Mykhailiuk received another chance and has been a bright spot.
Kennard tries to serve as an assistant coach for Mykhailiuk.
“I’m always trying to talk to him, teach him some things,” Kennard said. “He’s locked in, he’s focused. He’s a good player. He’s going to continue to grow. He’s a great shooter; he needs to shoot the ball more.
“I’m proud of how he’s been coming in each day ready to work.”
Mykhailiuk needs work at the defensive end, but is getting better.
“He’s really improved his attention to detail, being more physical with his size and strength,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said.
He also needs to improve at finishing around the rim; he was snuffed by Wizards defenders whenever he tried to score near the basket, failing to score in his two attempts.
Casey said Kennard’s absence means more opportunity for Tony Snell and Langston Galloway, but the Pistons know what they have there.
Snell is 28 and Galloway, also 28, is in a contract season.
The two-week stretch could give the Pistons a prime opportunity for more Mykhailiuk evaluation.
Trade primer: Assessing value of Pistons assets as NBA trade season begins
The Pistons are 11th in the Eastern Conference – two games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Kennard’s absence weakens the Pistons more – a factor for the front office to weigh with the trade deadline more than six weeks away.
Even if the Pistons can start playing better, what’s the point of trying to give up an asset to bolster a potential run for the eighth seed?
The Kennard news could be the push to look at the roster and see what assets could be traded to help a rebuild.
The news is also concerning for Kennard.
His knees have been a lingering issue since the offseason, causing the Pistons to limit his normal summer regimen.
That brings a dilemma: How can Kennard reach his potential if knee pain will limit offseason workouts?
“For young players, the only way you’re going to get better in this league is to work in the summertime. If you don’t, you won’t get better,” Casey said. “The side effect is injury is a possibility.”
Those questions will be answered later.
For now, it seems like a long time since the rousing opening night victory at Indiana, when Kennard scored 30 points and shot 10 free throws.
“Toward the beginning of the season I was good, but it’s been creeping up the last few weeks,” Kennard said. “It’s frustrating, but you got to do what you need to do to make sure you’re 100% so I can get back on the court and be myself.”
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Published at Fri, 27 Dec 2019 11:01:05 +0000