The Detroit Pistons' brutal start to the season continued on Saturday night, when news broke that leading scorer Jerami Grant will be sidelined for the foreseeable future. Grant suffered a UCL ligament sprain of the right thumb, and he will be reevaluated in six weeks, the team announced Sunday.
Grant suffered the injury during the Pistons loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night. Late in the first quarter, he lost control of the ball while working one-on-one against Brandon Ingram. As he dove for the loose ball, he put his hand down to brace himself and clearly felt something wrong. He immediately let go of the ball with his right hand and grimaced while he looked at his thumb.
While he played the remainder of the game, head coach Dwane Casey said Grant's thumb was "tender and sore" during his postgame press conference. Hindsight being 20/20, it's now clear that Grant should not have remained in the game -- though it's unclear if the injury got worse while he continued to play.
The Pistons will now be without their leading scorer and best player for the next six weeks, at least. Grant was averaging 20.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and is one of the only players on the team capable of providing consistent offensive production -- especially with Kelly Olynyk still sidelined due to a knee injury. Without both of them, the Pistons' only remaining healthy double-digit scorers are Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey.
Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, will be forced to take on an even bigger role with Grant out of the lineup. It's possible there could be a silver lining here for the Pistons, as Cunningham will have to learn on the fly how to run a team and offense by himself.
That's the only possible positive spin you can put on this situation, however. The Pistons already have the worst record in the league at 4-21, and are currently on an 11-game losing streak, which is their longest since losing 13 in a row back in the 2014-15 season. Without Grant, things are likely only going to get worse.