The Detroit Pistons announced a week ago that Andre Drummond, the NBA’s top rookie rebounder at 7.5 boards per game won’t be back with the team until at least mid March because of a stress fracture of the fifth lumbar vertebra.
A week later, it doesn’t appear the Drummond absence will be fatal for the team But it won’t help.
“Injuries are a part of the game,” said Detroit coach Lawrence Frank. “This is a contact sport. Obviously we feel very bad for Andre, but he’s 19 and he’ll recover… He’ll be fine. No one wants to get injured. It’s one of those things in the course of it that you take it and any sort of negative situation, and you turn it into a positive. So, there’s different things that Andre is going to be able to work to get stronger, and take his time to gain some strength in some different areas and make sure his back gets healed correctly for the long term.”
Frank and the other Pistons realize Drummond will be a critical part of their present and future and they need to make sure he comes back as a healthy Andre Drummond.
“Guys are definitely going to have to step up,” said guard Will Bynum “Andre was playing so well, but now it’s an opportunity for someone else. They have to step up and be ready.”
That other opportunity so far has fallen into the hands of veteran Charlie Villanueva and rookie Viachesla Kravtsov. Villanueva seems to be more reliable for a longer amount of time. Kravtsov is still trying to find his way around the court.
But all indications are that the Pistons, 21-33, are going to sink or swim with the other players regardless of what Drummond might have been able to contribute. It could make the difference in a close game since he has been playing so well in the middle, a role the team can’t find any replacement for so far.