Detroit Pistons: Some ‘injuries’ stranger than others in NBA tank land

Detroit Pistons guard Rodney McGruder (17) warms up before the game against the Golden State Warriors.. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Rodney McGruder (17) warms up before the game against the Golden State Warriors.. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Pistons are beset by ‘injuries’ to finish the season as they play young players who need experience. But some of the holdouts are a bit odd.

With no chance at the post-season, the Detroit Pistons are doing what every other team with no shot: Playing young players to get them some experience and allow development.

All well and good. There is no reason to trot out Jerami Grant for games that are meaningless (with one exception).

We already know Grant will be a major part of the team next season, and what he can do. All that would happen by his playing, is his taking  time away from a young player, and possibly suffering a major injury.

However, there are some players sitting out with ‘injuries’ that are, from the outside, are a bit of a headscratcher. And one player who is seeing time that is just as mystifying.

Obviously, going on the assumption that all those involved could play if they had to, let’s take a look at the ‘injured’:

Detroit Pistons players who should be seeing court time but are not

Rodney McGruder:

The  veteran combo guard rotted on the bench for the Pistons at the beginning of the season. McGruder started to get some playing time following the trade of Derrick Rose and a serious hip injury to Killian Hayes.

But his most notoriety to date was being called out by Draymond Green and Klay Thompson after a Golden State Warriors game, when they felt he had no right to confront Juan Toscano-Anderson afterwards.

Meet Detroit Pistons newest Bad Boy: Rodney McGruder. light. Related Story

When McGruder has actually played, he has not done badly. In a five-game stretch in early March, he scored in double figures four times, including 20 points in a win over the Toronto Raptors.

He is shooting 52.6% from the field, 45.8% on three-pointers and 75% on free throws. All are career highs for McGruder.

Coach Dwane Casey also used him as an emergency point guard when the team was depleted at that position. Casey also says McGruder has been a great mentor for the younger players.

Yet McGruder is sitting, and it is not like he needs rest. McGruder has played a total of 16 games for Detroit this season. The last time McGruder played, he started in a two-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets back on March 26.

The NBA official injury report lists McGruder as out with a sprained right elbow. That usually does not take a month-and-a-half to recover.

McGruder is under contract for next year, so he is a player the Pistons should want to see on the court. Sixteen games is a very small sample size to base a decision on what role McGruder will have in the future.

It would be nice to see him interact with Killian Hayes, as he has played virtually no time with him. It would simply be nice to actually get him in a game.