Having the imposing Rasheed Wallace try to defend the basket against the slashing offensive drives of Richard Jefferson would normally be one of the most compelling matchups in a game between the Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets.

Neither player is likely to be available, though, as the Pistons conclude a four-game road trip Saturday against the New Jersey Nets.

Detroit (13-8) forward Wallace, one of the league's standout players in the frontcourt, will miss the next two games with an ankle injury.

Team president Joe Dumars made the announcement Friday, saying Wallace will sit out this game and Sunday's home contest against Seattle.

Wallace has been bothered by a sore right ankle for more than a week. He is averaging 13.5 points and leads the team with 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

``When you're banged up a little but, you become so sore you kind of lose your mental edge,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders told the Pistons' Web site. ``With him his whole game is focused so much on being emotionally in the game.''

Saunders isn't revealing his backup plan, but Wallace's minutes will likely be spread among Nazr Mohammed, Dale Davis, Antonio McDyess and Jason Maxiell.

``I probably know,'' Saunders said, ``I'm just not going to tell anyone.''

Detroit had a two-game road winning streak snapped Wednesday, losing 101-90 to Indiana. The Pistons had won at Dallas and Orlando, but are averaging only 88.6 points in their last five games.

Detroit will now face a New Jersey (9-13) team that may be without Jefferson, who missed Friday's 90-78 loss to Toronto with a sore right ankle. The small forward is listed as day-to-day and missed the second half of New Jersey's game against Milwaukee on Wednesday because of the injury.

Jefferson, who is averaging 16.1 points and 4.8 assists, missed five games last month with a sore left ankle.

Antoine Wright started in Jefferson's place against the Raptors. The Nets' first-round pick in 2005 had six points and five rebounds in 23 minutes.

Vince Carter, who averaged 36.5 points in his previous two games and a team-high 27.1 this season, was held to a season-worst 12 on 4-of-17 shooting from the field against his former team. Teammate and point guard Jason Kidd said the team took his scoring for granted and failed to pick him up in Friday's loss.

``Vince loves coming here and playing, but he is human and we can't always expect just to sit back and hope he goes for 30,'' said Kidd, one of the guilty parties after going 3-for-12 and finishing with just 10 points. ``Everybody has to do their part and he just had a bad game in his book.''

New Jersey returns to Continental Airlines Arena to open a four-game homestand. The Nets are 6-7 at home, but have a chance to win three straight there for the first time this season. They're averaging 106.5 points in their last two games at home.

Detroit and New Jersey split four games last season in offensive struggles. The Pistons averaged 84.0 points while the Nets posted 81.0, and neither team scored more than 93 points in any contest.

Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited