Detroit Pistons’ Brandon Jennings Out With Achilles Injury

It looks like the Detroit Pistons will have to find another way to continue their winning streak, now that star point guard Brandon Jennings will not be by their side. Jennings, 25, and the Pistons were trailing the Milwaukee Bucks in the third quarter of Saturday night’s game, 89-65, when tragedy struck with just 62 seconds left in the quarter. Jennings was closely guarding former Pistons’ player Brandon Knight in the back court when he suddenly collapsed, falling to the ground clutching his lower left leg and writhing in pain.

Team doctors examined him following the contest and determined that he had suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon and would not be able to return to the team for at least six months. The Pistons will now rely on backup veteran guard D.J. Augustin to take over Jennings’ role while he is recuperating. There is also a possibility that the team may add a player to their roster prior to the NBA trade deadline in February.

One of the more appealing possibilities is New York Knicks point guard Pablo Prigioni. ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted recently that he has heard that Detroit is looking at Prigioni, who is averaging 4.8 points and 2.5 assists in just under 19 minutes per game. “Hearing Pistons among teams to show exploratory interest in Knicks’ Pablo Prigioni and could revisit that in wake of losing Brandon Jennings,” Stein said. Prigioni, at the time being, is sharing point guard duties with former Piston player Jose Calderon in New York.     

Brandon Jennings was scoring an average of 19.6 points per game – the highest average of his career according to the Detroit Free Press. With Jennings playing a key role in the lineup, the Pistons managed to win 12 of the last 16 games. With their recent run of success, the Detroit Pistons were hoping to pursue a playoff spot this year, but that is up in the air now with one of their best players injured.

The Pistons struggled early in the season, posting a 5-23 record through their first 28 games. At the time star Josh Smith was with the team, but was not playing up to the expectations of the organization, so in December the team cut him. Detroit has 12 of the 16 contests since then, and looked poised to make a serious run behind their star point guard. Jennings is averaging 15.4 points and 6.6 assists per game this season, but since the release of Smith he has been lighting it up, averaging 20.0 points and 7.2 assists a game.

The irony of  this story is that Knight and Jennings were traded for one another in 2013. It is odd to see a tragic injury occur in this manner when two players are squaring off against each other who had been dealt for one another. This was to be a really special night for Jennings being that Milwaukee was the place that he now calls “home,” and he wanted to show his fans and newly adopted home town that he loves his city. He had so much energy and emotion that night, maybe too much in fact, as he was called for a senseless foul early in the game.

With this serious of an injury, it is hard to say if and when Jennings will be back with the Pistons. A torn Achilles injury doesn’t heal overnight; it needs roughly nine months or even more to heal in order to get full use and strength back. The Detroit Pistons need to come up with a strategy now so that they will still have a chance to make it to the 2014-2015 playoffs without Jennings presence.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons    

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