The Detroit Pistons have been without their two highest-paid players for most of the season.
But Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk could both return soon.
Grant and Olynyk weren’t listed on Tuesday morning’s injury report, meaning both players should be available for Tuesday’s home game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Grant, who injured his right thumb against the Pelicans on Dec. 10 and underwent surgery to repair his UCL ligament in his thumb on Dec. 16, has missed roughly seven weeks. Olynyk sprained his left knee against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 10, but returned on Jan. 19. He played two games before entering health and safety protocols.
Both Olynyk and Grant exited protocols last week, and have been practicing with the Pistons.
Grant is averaging 20.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks this season, and Olynyk is averaging 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds. Dwane Casey said before Sunday’s game that he was hopeful both players would return before the Feb. 10 trade deadline. Grant’s name has been frequently mentioned in trade rumors, but Casey doesn’t expect the deadline to impact Grant’s availability.
“His conditioning has to get better, he worked out this morning and worked out yesterday,” Casey said of Grant on Sunday. “I would say another few days of conditioning, he should be back. And same with Kelly. He’s in the conditioning program also. Hopefully we can get those guys back at some point in the next week. And as we reintegrate them into what we’re doing, getting them into game shape. So that’s going to be a crash course, also.”
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There could be a re-adjustment period for the Pistons once both players are back. Saddiq Bey has been playing, and thriving, at Grant’s natural position of power forward, and Cade Cunningham has looked natural slotting in as the primary offensive option. Trey Lyles has benefitted as well, finding his offensive groove at a small-ball five in the void left by Olynyk.
“It’ll affect Saddiq because he now moves to the three, and it’s going to affect other guys’ time,” Casey said. “It’s going to be a learning process for all of us.”
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