Observations: Injuries continue to plague Pistons in preseason

Detroit News

Detroit — The crowd inside Little Caesars Arena fell silent as Marvin Bagley III went down 45 seconds into Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with an apparent knee injury.

The five-year forward inadvertently slipped on the court and clutched his knee. Unable to apply any pressure on his leg, Bagley was helped off the court by his teammates. He received an ovation by fans as he entered the tunnel towards the locker room. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game during the second quarter.

Bagley’s injury is another unfortunate blow to the Pistons’ depth as injuries have mounted over the course of training camp and the preseason.

The team announced that newly-acquired Alec Burks (foot), Nerlens Noel (reconditioning/plantar fasciitis) and Kevin Knox (right gastroc strain) would miss training camp while they rehabbed from their respective injuries.

Rookie center Jalen Duren missed one game due to right shoulder tightness, but returned on Tuesday. Before the game, Pistons coach Dwane Casey revealed that Isaiah Livers is dealing with a hip injury. Lastly, Bojan Bogdanovic did not suit up against the Thunder due to an undisclosed reason. He sat on the bench in street clothes.

Health is an issue that has hindered the Pistons in previous years and it appears that the team won’t be anywhere near 100% for next Wednesday’s season opener against the Orlando Magic, especially with Bagley’s latest injury.

Here are a few more observations from Tuesday’s 115-99 loss to the Thunder.

Confident Killian

Killian Hayes sized up his defender and executed a step-back 3-pointer for his first shot attempt against the Thunder. It’s a shot he practices often with Pistons assistant coach Jerome Allen, so the confidence to take it was apparent.

For his next attempt, Hayes found himself in the corner as Cory Joseph drew multiple defenders. The third-year guard calmly knocked down the triple.

To round out his 8-point first quarter, Hayes had a dribble combo inside and threw up a post hook that fell right into the basket. The show didn’t stop in the opening quarter. Hayes drilled his third 3-pointer midway through the third quarter to bring the Pistons within six points of the Thunder.

Hayes showed confidence throughout the first quarter of the game and gave the Pistons a much-needed boost from the second unit, offering promise that the could be ready to take the next step in his development as the No. 7 overall pick from the 2020 NBA Draft.

Turnovers improve, somewhat

After committing 43 turnovers through their first two preseason games, the Pistons did a better job of taking care of the ball on Tuesday. The team totaled 15 giveaways, which is the exact number where Casey said he’d like them to eventually get to.

However, seven of those turnovers occurred in the third quarter and they dug a hole the Pistons couldn’t climb out of.

Duren returns from injury

Jalen Duren’s number was called early when Bagley exited the game due to a knee injury. The rookie center, who grabbed 14 rebounds in his preseason debut against the Knicks, picked up where he left off and commanded the glass.

He finished with 5 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists on the night. He was active inside the paint and didn’t seem to favor the right shoulder that bothered him over the past week.


Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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