| The Detroit News
Throughout the early part of the season, the Pistons have endured a growing number of injuries, including the most serious one on Monday, with Killian Hayes sustaining a torn labrum in his right hip.
Hayes’ backup, Derrick Rose, left Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks late in the second quarter with what was deemed a right knee contusion. Rose didn’t return in the second half, leaving the Pistons to rely on Delon Wright and rookie Saben Lee as their only active point guards.
Although Rose’s injury didn’t appear to be serious — he didn’t have a noticeable limp or show signs of being seriously hurt — the depth at point guard will be a challenge for the Pistons moving forward, at least for the short term. The extent of Hayes’ absence, whether it’s weeks or months, still is unclear and is based on the severity of the tear in his labrum, and whether surgery is necessary.
Needless to say, it’s been a rough week on the injury front, with wing Josh Jackson also missing the last two games because of a sprained ankle and Blake Griffin returning Monday from a couple of days in the concussion protocol.
As tough as the Hayes injury is, the Rose injury could be another gut punch. With Hayes out, Wright, who starting the first two games of the season at shooting guard, moves over to point guard, at least for the foreseeable future. That will put Saben Lee, who hadn’t played in the first seven games, in as the backup point guard.
Lee had four points and one assist, along with three turnovers and two steals in 12 minutes. The Pistons traded into the second round to get Lee in the draft, and coach Dwane Casey and general manager Troy Weaver are high on his potential, but injecting Lee into regular backup minutes now is sooner than anyone projected.
Rose, 32, is averaging 15.3 points and 5.4 assists and is playing more than 24 minutes per game, mostly to take some of the pressure off of Hayes and to help his transition in his first season. He took on a bigger role last season, moving into the starting lineup in mid-January and posting 18.3 points and 4.9 assists in the final 15 games he played.
Because Rose is in the final year of his contract, there’s some talk that the Pistons could consider trading him before the March 25 deadline. He clearly has value as a potential scoring option for a contending team that needs help on its bench or to bolster its starting group with a more effective scorer.
Pistons at Suns
► Tipoff: 7 Friday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
► TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
► Outlook: The Pistons (1-7) have lost three straight games and the schedule doesn’t get any easier, with the improved Suns (6-2) looming. Chris Paul (13.3 points and 8.3 assists) has been a big offseason addition that’s helped elevate Phoenix to one of the elite teams in the West.
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