On Saturday night, one of the scarier moments in recent Detroit Pistons' history played out when Andre Drummond fell to the court during the team's 112-104 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers after slamming his head into Roy Hibbert.
Initially, it didn't seem as if Drummond would be getting back up. A stretcher was brought out. Fortunately, Drummond made it off the court with assistance, but apparently isn't feeling good enough to play as the Pistons prepare to begin a four game road trip by taking on the Denver Nuggets Tuesday.
Drummond shouldn't play in that game, nor any of the others on the upcoming trip. He shouldn't even see the floor until he's convinced he's completely healthy and, more importantly, team doctors are convinced the same. This isn't about tanking or improving draft stock, but merely the overall health of the franchise.
At age 20, Drummond has taken monumental steps forward in just his second season in the league. He's become a crushing rebounder and formidable post-presence in short order. Considering the red flags many in the media slapped him with coming out of college and the heavy bust potential at his position, the Pistons may have found a team cornerstone to build around.
As a result, they must do whatever they can to keep Drummond healthy. His freak accident against the Pacers should have been a sign to Joe Dumars and John Loyer that a playoff run isn't in the cards for the Pistons this spring. Even though both Dumars and Loyer are likely only a month away from dismissal, they are the current gatekeepers of the team, and that counts for something.
Drummond is only one man, no matter his size or impact on the game. Though he's having a phenomenal season, his presence alone hasn't helped the Pistons' sinking ship in 2014, so there's no reason to jeopardize his future and risk further injury by rushing him back into action.
More than anything, the Pistons and what's left of their rapidly-eroding fan base need the hope a player like Drummond provides. Seeing a franchise player rushed back from injury to preserve a feudal playoff push isn't going to provide a brighter future, nor even lend an advantage in the present.
The Pistons must rest Drummond as long as possible, and help nurse him back to health. Detroit causing long-term injury to a budding star by rushing him back to action would be arguably the greatest insult in a season full of them.
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