The Detroit Pistons are out of the playoffs courtesy of their loss Wednesday to the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers. As they head toward the final four games of their season, they may consider giving one of their stars an extended break.
Rod Beard of The Detroit News reports the Pistons are seriously considering resting forward Blake Griffin for the rest of the season. He has been out the last week after suffering a bone bruise in his right ankle:
“Whether we see him again, I have no idea,” coach Stan Van Gundy said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s certainly no better than 50/50.”
That seems logical, considering there’s not much reason to push Griffin to play in the final couple games, though Van Gundy said Wednesday that he wasn’t in favor of shutting down players if they’re healthy. Griffin still hasn’t been cleared to return to game action, but he’s been doing some work on the side to stay in good shape.
If he doesn’t play in the final four games, it likely would mean more playing time for second-year forward Henry Ellenson, who has slid into the role as backup with Griffin out. Ellenson has increased his workload to 15 minutes per game, with six points and 3.3 rebounds in the last four games.
Much like last season, when Ellenson got a boost in minutes after the Pistons were eliminated, there will be an opportunity to see him play more, but not necessarily at power forward. Van Gundy has said he’d like to get Ellenson more time as a backup center to Andre Drummond.
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