For the first time in a while, there was some genuine excitement about Detroit Pistons basketball heading into the season. Unfortunately, it has been muted somewhat after No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham suffered an ankle injury early in training camp.
Back on Oct. 1, Pistons coach Dwane Casey told reporters that Cunningham had suffered a “very mild” rolled ankle, but despite some minor swelling the team was not concerned and expected him to be ready for their preseason opener against the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 6.
Unfortunately, it appears the injury was worse than they initially thought. Casey informed the media on Monday that Cunningham has still not returned to practice, and there’s no timeline for when he’ll do so. At this point, it’s unlikely that Cunningham will be able to play in the first preseason game, and he could miss further contests depending on how his recovery progresses.
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Zooming out and looking at the big picture view of Cunningham’s career, this is no big deal. Rolled ankles happen all the time, and he probably won’t even remember this one in a few years. Right now, at the moment, however, it’s a bummer. No one wants to start out their career on the sidelines, especially a first pick like Cunningham who has so much pressure weighing on him already.
But when you’re as talented as Cunningham and projected to have a long and successful career, you have the take the cautious route. It’s frustrating, for sure, but in the long run, it will be better for both him and the Pistons. You’d rather miss a few practices and preseason games than be dealing with a nagging ankle problem for your entire rookie season.
The good news is that the Pistons’ regular season opener is still more than two weeks away on Oct. 20 at home against the Chicago Bulls. While it’s still unclear when Cunningham will be back on the court, he will hopefully be back by then.