Detroit will have to get by without starter Brandon Jennings
for three weeks. (Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Off the top: Ouch.
According to Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, Pistons guard Brandon Jennings will miss three weeks of action with an impacted wisdom tooth -- an affliction that results when molars don't have the necessary room to grow properly. As a result, Jennings' wisdom tooth was fractured at its base, per Goodwill, which sounds just miserable. Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press noted that Jennings' treatment will involve immobilization for three weeks -- thus creating the basis for his timetable to return.
There's no risk of persistent damage, but an overhauled team losing Jennings at such a formative stage hurts all the same. Detroit still has so much to figure out through the conclusion of training camp and the exhibition season; spacing, for one, figures to be a consistent issue whenever Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond share the floor with the newly signed Josh Smith -- the quandary of which Jennings will have to navigate regularly. More broadly, almost half of Detroit's roster -- including Jennings -- is stocked with first-time Pistons, all of whom are learning the ropes under new head coach Maurice Cheeks. This is a hiccup in the Pistons' season preparation, to say the least. It will likely be of marginal consequence in the grand scheme of the season, but it does complicate the process of incorporating so many new pieces into the Pistons' playing rotation.
Fortunately, Detroit won't have to go too long with Jennings out of the lineup. Supposing that he makes his return in three weeks, Jennings would miss just the first few games of the regular season. Yet Rodney Stuckey, who could have filled in for Jennings, may also be out of the lineup after breaking his thumb in a car door. Cheeks has expressed optimism that Stuckey could be back in the mix by opening night, but it seems doubtful that Stuckey would assume big minutes for the Pistons just a few weeks removed from thumb surgery. Will Bynum -- a pick-and-roll guard coming off a nice, quiet season -- has started in place of Jennings/Stuckey in the preseason, though it's conceivable that Cheeks could lean on Chauncey Billups to run point once the regular season kicks off.