Cunningham did not travel with the Pistons on their recent three-game road trip as he stayed back in Detroit to continue his rehab. He also practiced with the Motor City Cruise this week and had the opportunity to participate in extensive runs with the team.
Pistons head coach Dwane Casey often cautioned that the team would not rush his return to the court. The decision to clear Cunningham to play will ultimately come from the team medical staff, something Casey reiterated on Friday.
The expectation was Cunningham would likely debut after their recent road trip. They host the Orlando Magic on Saturday, a game Cunningham could play in depending on how he responds to practice, Casey said.
He went through some drills and offensive stuff today. We’ll see where he is tomorrow. We’re not putting a timetable on it. If his body feels like it, the doctors agree with it, he’ll go when he can go. It’ll be the medical people’s decision. I’m just waiting to see when he’s available and we’re ready to go. I think he’s ready, he understands what we need to be doing.
With Cunningham on the verge of debuting with the Pistons, Casey tempered expectations a bit. The team does not want to put too much pressure on him as they know the expectations that come with being a No. 1 overall pick, especially one as highly touted as Cunningham.
I hope everyone doesn’t come out and put tremendous pressure like this young man is going to come out and save the day because he’s not, even though he’s a great young player. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him. I want him to come out and play basketball whenever he does come out, and let the game come to him.
We’re not 0-4 because of Cade Cunningham. We’re 0-4 because of us and things we’ve gotta do better and do longer in that situation against really good teams. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him when he does step on the floor.
The Pistons will certainly welcome Cunningham back once he can play again. They will likely try to bring him along slowly to allow him the opportunity to adjust to the NBA game and let his game develop on the court naturally.
Cunningham experiencing an injury during his first training camp has likely been very frustrating, but the 20-year-old has handled the situation very well. Certainly, the Pistons and Cunningham can’t wait until he can take the court again.
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Source: Yahoo Sports