The Detroit Pistons still have not updated Andre Drummond’s formal status but all the signs and unspoken code seems to point to the rookie center returning Friday against the Toronto Raptors.
Drummond said he has "been ready for three weeks" and teammate Greg Monroe said the two practiced together extensively today and that his 19-year-old teammate appears back to previous form.
But signs point to a Drummond return. He has been a full participant in practices for nearly two weeks and while he is fully healed, they want to make sure his conditioning is right so he doesn’t suffer another injury.
Don’t be surprised if he starts alongside Greg Monroe, who would move to power forward, although his minutes will gradually increase through the rest of the season.
Lawrence Frank wouldn’t commit to Andre Drummond being in uniform and available to play when Toronto comes to The Palace on Friday, but he certainly circled close to such an admission.
“In terms of tomorrow, I’ll give you that answer tomorrow,” Frank said after a Thursday practice he described as one with “good spirit, good energy, good effort” – perhaps, in some measure, because Drummond was again a full participant and spent a good chunk of it playing alongside Greg Monroe.
“We may want to create a competitive situation where we may not want to tell Toronto exactly what we’re doing,” Frank grinned. “That may be a part of it, too.”
We’ve been down this road once before, but unlike Vincent Goodwill’s speculation about Tuesday, the likelihood of Drummond playing Friday has more widespread support.
Also, Ellis and Goodwill must be getting the idea Drummond will start his first game back from somewhere, but I’d be shocked if it happens. Regular starters often come off the bench in their first game after returning from injury. Reserves rarely start in that situation.
Lawrence Frank, via Mayo:
"When Andre does come back, it will be a build-up of the minutes," Frank said. "When you’re out the amount of time he’s been out, it’s going to take a while to get your legs back. … So we’ll build it up and read it, and just kind of take it game by game and see where he’s at."
That doesn’t sound like someone who will start immediately, but we’ll see Friday.