For nearly three weeks, the Pistons experienced almost remarkably good fortune with regard to injuries. Across the NBA, where stars from Derrick Rose to Dirk Nowitzki are set to still miss weeks or months, the Pistons won’t generate much sympathy for the left calf muscle Corey Maggette strained in Thursday’s loss at Miami.

MIAMI – Back in the golden NBA era of the ’80s, before the Bad Boys were fully formed, the Lakers and Celtics countered each other’s personnel moves every season with an eye toward better matching up with their arch-nemesis in the NBA Finals.

As the Pistons inched closer to contention, Jack McCloskey adopted the same tack. To beat the Celtics and emerge from the East, the Pistons needed a power forward to neutralize Kevin McHale, or at least to contain his damage.

The Pistons have four preseason games down, four to go. Lawrence Frank says the last two of those will be dress rehearsals for the Oct. 31 season opener. That means Thursday’s game at Miami and Saturday’s game at The Palace against Charlotte represent the last best chance for players to secure their spots in Frank’s rotation.

Frank says he’s never had an ideal number of players in his rotation and doesn’t have a magic number in mind now for how deep into his bench he’ll dip on a regular basis.