Brandon Knight injured his right knee late in the third quarter of the Pistons’ win over the Bobcats last night, and he surprisingly returned in the fourth quarter. But after just 45 seconds back on the floor, Knight suffered an ankle injury that knocked him from the game for good.
Knight, via David Mayo of MLive:
"I think I was just trying to compensate and wasn’t really ready to go back out there, just wanted to," Knight said. "God found a way to sit me down."
"As a competitor, you see your team’s in a close game and you always want to play, especially when you have an opportunity to close. You just want to finish the game."
Of course Knight wanted to play. Few reach the NBA without the obsessively competitive mindset that allows players to train for hours and hours day after day, and there’s no doubt Knight has that mentality. But it’s the Pistons’ responsibility to protect Knight from himself without dimming the flame that keeps Knight working hard and improving.
So why did Lawrence Frank re-insert Knight?
"He was a go," Frank said of reinserting Knight after the initial injury. "He was cleared by our training staff. They said, ‘If you’re going to use him, use him now.’"
It sounds like that should have been a warning sign. If sitting for a few minutes would have rendered Knight unusable for the rest of the night, maybe he should have just been pulled. Even though the game was close, there’s no sense risking the future of one of the franchise’s most valuable players just for a February win over the Bobcats during a season that won’t end in the playoffs, anyway.