Jackson missed a bunch of games during the 2016-17 campaign, as a knee injury forced him to be shut down for the final nine games of the season. However, after changing up his routine with less court time and more flexibility training, Jackson is already feeling the benefits and his knee appears to be back to full strength. Whether that can last a whole season is up for debate, but it appears Jackson is fully expected to be at full strength for training camp. While Jackson is the favorite to open the season as the team's starting point guard, the Pistons did float his name around in potential trade scenarios, which will be something to monitor over the next few months.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said Thursday that Jackson (knee) has officially been shut down for the team's final four games of the season, MLive.com's Aaron McMann reports. "He won't play these last four games," Van Gundy said. "The plan was to sort of let him step away and clear his mind and go into the offseason without a bad taste in his mouth."
Jackson had already missed the Pistons' previous five games due to what was labeled as left knee tendinitis -- the same injury that sidelined him for the first month of the season -- but it doesn't sound like the point guard has suffered any sort of setback. Instead, because Jackson had been struggling mightily in recent weeks, the team decided it was just best to have the point guard take some time off to get both his mind and body right for the upcoming campaign. It's expected that Jackson will only dress in the event either of the team's remaining two point guards, Ish Smith and Beno Udrih, succumb to an injury over the final four games or the playoffs, should the Pistons qualify. Jackson still seems to be viewed as the team's starting point guard heading into 2017-18, but his stock has taken a hit after he averaged 14.5 points, 5.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 treys in his 52 games this season, numbers that are all down from the prior campaign.
Coach Stan Van Gundy suggested Tuesday that Jackson (knee) would be shut down for the remainder of the season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com reports. "My goal is to have [Jackson] back better than he ever was and I think we can get to that because I think he's learned a lot from this whole situation, too," Van Gundy said. "I think he's healthier and healthier. I think he'll be 100 percent when next year starts and I think he'll be better mentally with the whole thing."
Jackson never seemed to return to form after he experienced left knee tendinitis early in training camp that ended up delaying his season debut until early December. The point guard's stat lines would seem to flesh that out, as he's averaged 14.5 points (on 41.9% shooting from the field), 5.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 three-pointers in 27.4 minutes per game over his 52 appearances on the campaign, with all numbers down across the board from 2015-16. Jackson's struggles became even more apparent after the All-Star break, and shortly after losing his starting job to Ish Smith a few weeks ago, Van Gundy dropped him from the rotation in an effort to limit any further strain on Jackson's knee. While it doesn't sound like Jackson has actually experienced any serious setback with the knee, the Pistons seem to believe it will be beneficial over the long haul to give the 26-year-old some extended time off to both physically and mentally recharge. Those still waiting on the slim possibility of a Jackson return can probably cut bait in single-season leagues, but he'll still carry some appeal in dynasty formats. Since Jackson still has three years remaining on the five-year, $80 million contract he signed with the Pistons in the summer of July, the organization likely remains committed to him as its lead guard. If the early start on the offeason has its desired effect, Jackson could be an attractive bounce-back candidate in 2017-18.
Jackson (knee) will be inactive for Wednesday's game against the Raptors, Aaron McMann of MLive.com reports.
The Pistons haven't indicated as much, but it appears the team is leaning toward shelving Jackson for the rest of the season while he remains bothered by right knee tendinitis. Those in single-season leagues shouldn't hesitate to drop Jackson, who won't be able to take back his starting role from Ish Smith before the season ends even if he's able to return to action. Smith has averaged 17.8 points, 5.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 three-pointers in 32.5 minutes per game to solidify himself as the Pistons' unquestioned top point guard.
Jackson (knee) will not play Friday against the Bucks, Rod Beard of The Detroit News reports.
Jackson has missed the Pistons' past three games due to tendinitis in his right knee, so Friday's absence is more of the same for the point guard. Considering Detroit doesn't play again until next Wednesday, it's possible Jackson could return then, but Ish Smith will continue to lead the team's backcourt until further notice.
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