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Pistons' Hamilton to play after missing 10 games


Posted Mar 1 2011 8:31PM

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Richard Hamilton, who has been in a dispute with the Detroit Pistons, will play against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Coach John Kuester said Hamilton will get his first game action after missing 10 consecutive games. He last played Feb. 5 in a game that also was in Milwaukee.

Kuester said he told the team all starting spots are open and will be determined by how each player practices.

"I opened up all the positions," he said. "I said, 'Listen, anybody that wants to work hard, this is the group we're going to go with.'

"We had a number of guys working hard and Rip was one of them," he said.

Kuester said Tayshaun Prince would miss the game with a back injury, but Hamilton would play.

"Everybody else that's dressed has to be ready to go," he said.

Hamilton declined comment before the game.

Several of the Pistons -including Hamilton - missed a shootaround practice in Philadelphia on Friday, reportedly in protest of Kuester. The coach responded by using only six players in the game against the 76ers.

Hamilton and Kuester, though, had a private discussion in the past couple of days and appear to be trying to mend their relationship.

"We had a conversation and we're on the same page," Kuester said. "That's the most important thing right now. We're in a situation where we have 21 games left. Every day is important for us to get better."

Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva said the Pistons still have a chance to make the playoffs.

"What happened in Philadelphia is behind us," Villanueva said. "Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction going forward these last 21 games.

"We have to make a decision," Villanueva said. "Are we going to have a terrible season or are we all going to come together and make a push? The guys decided we're going to make a push."

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