Max Expected Back

Knight’s ankle expected to keep him out ‘a while,’ but Maxiell good to go

Jason Maxiell is expected to return tonight against the Warriors after missing M
Jason Maxiell is expected to return tonight against the Warriors after missing Monday's game with a right ankle injury.
Noah Graham (NBAE/Getty)
SAN FRANCISCO – Lugging a six-game losing streak with them up the West Coast, it speaks to the turn the Pistons’ season has taken that the first questions put to their coach is now the injury report. It really speaks to the turn the season has taken that the coach is Brian Hill, standing in for Lawrence Frank, who has been away from the team for 10 days at the side of his wife, Susan, as she deals with a health issue in New Jersey.

Jason Maxiell, who missed Monday’s loss at Utah after spraining his right ankle in Sunday’s game with the Clippers, went through shootaround and is expected to play tonight at Golden State.

That’s the good news. Two players central to their future, Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight, remain sidelined. Both worked with strength coach Arnie Kander on conditioning and rehabilitation as shootaround concluded, Knight – minus the crutches that carried out of him Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City two nights earlier – walking in place while Kander directed hand movements for him at one point.

“I expect Jason to play,” Hill said. “We’ll see how he is when he goes out there. He went through shootaround, so he should be ready to go tonight unless something happens and it flares up. But we expect to play. But Brandon will definitely be out. He’s got pretty good swelling in it still. It’s probably going to be something that takes a while.”

Drummond has missed 16 games since injury his back, a stress fracture of the fifth lumbar vertabra, on Feb. 3. The Pistons announced on Monday that the pace of his rehabilitation will increase, being to blend in “basketball-related” activities.

“He looks fine,” Greg Monroe said after shootaround. “He’s starting to do a little bit more as far as movement and starting to get back in shape a little bit. Arnie’s starting to do a little bit of small conditioning things with him.”

The Pistons will be cautious with bringing Drummond back, but there is incentive to get a few more games under his belt before the April 17 end to the season. For Drummond’s sake, it would be beneficial for his peace of mind to get back on the floor and erase all concerns about the injury lingering.

“I’m pretty sure he wants to play,” Monroe said. “I’m pretty sure sitting out these games has been kind of miserable for him. Guys love to play basketball. Any time you’re hurt, you’re sitting there watching game after game, he wants to play. If he’s cleared and he’s available to play, I’m pretty sure he’s going to suit up and play.”

While Knight is out, Hill said, Rodney Stuckey will take his place in the starting lineup alongside Jose Calderon in Detroit’s backcourt. Rookie Kim English will also factor in the equation, Hill said.

“Kim will have to play tonight,” Hill said. “He went through all of our preparation, our game plan, so he should be ready to go.”