Hamidou Diallo was in the midst of his best stretch of basketball, and has positioned himself well with unrestricted free agency approaching. But he might’ve already played his final game this season, due to an injury.
Diallo has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 right ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated in three to four weeks, the Detroit Pistons announced Tuesday. He suffered the injury with two minutes remaining in Detroit’s 110-104 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
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Detroit’s final regular season game is on April 9, meaning there’s a chance Diallo has played his final game in Detroit, depending on how offseason negotiations go. It’s a tough break for the fifth-year wing, who has averaged 11.8 points, four rebounds and 1.3 steals a game on 61.8% shooting since becoming a fixture in the rotation on Dec. 20. On the season, he’s averaging 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds on 57.3% shooting. He’s been one of the league’s best finishers, as well as the Pistons’ resident energy player.
“He changes the game,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said before Tuesday’s game against the Washington Wizards. “That’s why we struggle scoring in the first quarter. When he comes in, whether good or bad, the game changes and we need his energy offensively and defensively, his rebounding. He increases the speed of the game, pushing the ball down the floor. He brings so much energy to the game. That’s what we’ll miss. Somehow, someway we have to turn that switch on.”
Diallo is in the final season of a two-year, $10.4 million contract signed in 2021. He arrived in Detroit at the 2021 trade deadline in a deal that sent Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder.