Stuckey Takes a Step

After going through scrimmage, Stuckey says he could play in preseason finale

Rodney Stuckey said he'll be ready to play if coach Frank calls his number in Tuesday's preseason finale.
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Rodney Stuckey can’t make up the week of training camp he missed in two days, but he expects to be caught up and comfortable in the week left until the regular season starts.

Stuckey participated fully in the 90-minute open practice held Sunday at The Palace, where fans were admitted free of charge with no parking fee and a free hot dog and Coke to the approximately 2,000 fans who attended.

But 90 minutes constituted an unusually light day at Camp Frank, where Saturday saw the Pistons endure a four-hour practice the day after opening the preseason. It doesn’t mean Stuckey is ready to get thrown into the fray just yet, though he feels fine physically, he said after Sunday’s open practice that concluded with about 30 minutes of full-court scrimmaging.

“I feel fine – my body feels fine,” he said. “I’m just trying to go out there and get to know all the plays, which I’m getting down. (Assistant coach) Steve Hetzel has really been helping me out with that. I’m just trying to get my legs underneath me. It’s going to be a while, but I’ll be fine.”

Stuckey said Sunday that he worked out hard during the off-season, then backed off for a few weeks as the lockout dragged on, then picked it back up by incorporating three- and four-mile daily runs into this basketball routine. He said he weighed himself Saturday for the first time all off-season and checked in at 206 – one pound over his weight when he entered the NBA, he said.

“It’s about trying to take it a step at a time,” Lawrence Frank said. “He’s physically fine. Just each day, do a little bit more, just accelerate it. Mentally, we try to turn it up, but physically just try to make it a little more of a structured process.”

The Pistons will practice Monday before departing for Cleveland for Tuesday’s preseason finale – the last opportunity for Stuckey to get game action before the Dec. 26 opener at Indiana. Will Stuckey play at Cleveland?

“It’s up to coach,” he said. “I’ll go in and play a couple of minutes if he wants me to.”

Stuckey was noticeably upbeat and he’s expressed enthusiasm for Frank’s offense, which promises to make heavier use of pick-and-roll plays than the past two seasons. He also dismissed any notion, despite the way negotiations had been portrayed, that he was hopeful of leaving in free agency.

“I love it here,” he said. “The fans are good, the organization is good. It’s good that we got a new owner in here and he’s changing some things around here. We’re getting younger – that’s what I like to see.”