Very rarely does one injury change the dynamic of the entire conference playoff picture, but the injury to Reggie Jackson might do just that. The Detroit Pistons were a playoff team last season, and could potentially be a team competing for home-court advantage in the first round. The Eastern Conference does not have much room for error, so this injury could take them from a team fighting for home court to a team fighting for a playoff spot.
The injury itself does not figure to be too severe, and he could be back very soon. His recovery timetable depends on what treatment he chooses, the longest and most efficient route would require him to miss up to two months. Assuming he chooses this method, he would be back around early December. The Pistons have enough to deal with a temporary absence, but an extended period of time without Reggie is when they run into trouble. Reggie was their closer and he was right at the top of fourth quarter scoring, especially in the final minutes.
The original table is here.
So what does this injury mean for the Pistons? They should be fine if his absence is eight weeks at most, they have Ish Smith and they can expect to see an increase in scoring from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tobias Harris, and Stanley Johnson. Andre Drummond will likely get more looks as well. They do have options if they decide to make a trade, the Milwaukee Bucks have already tried trading Michael Carter-Williams. Judging by the fact that they were only asking for Ben McLemore in return, it shouldn’t cost Detroit too much if they decided to make a move. However, it is very unlikely that’s the case, as Stan Van Gundy indicated that they would rather fill the void by committee.
So what exactly does this injury mean for the East? It really depends on how long Reggie’s injury is and how Detroit manages without him. If Detroit holds up well, you can expect them to be in the mix for any position from four to six. If he is out for longer than expected and Detroit struggles in his absence, you can expect them to be fighting for the final playoff spot again. His injury brings hope to other teams who right outside the mix for a playoff spot. Teams like Orlando, Miami, New York, and possibly Charlotte, can get off to a fast start and find themselves in the playoff hunt come April.