Pistons forward Blake Griffin will make his season debut Monday against the Timberwolves, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Griffin missed the first 10 games while rehabilitating a sore knee and hamstring that have bothered him since the preseason. He had a surgical procedure on his left knee after last season ended.
Griffin has gone through several practices without experiencing pain, which convinced the team he is ready to starting playing. Markieff Morris, who had been starting in Griffin’s absence, will likely move to the bench. After several seasons shortened by injuries, Griffin played 75 games last year and earned third-team All-NBA honors with a 24.5/7.5/5.4 line.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Derrick Rose has missed four straight games with a hamstring issue, but he tells Ben Stinar of The Big Lead that Pistons fans don’t need to be concerned about his health. “I feel good,” Rose said after Friday’s game. “I feel like I could play, but the organization, trainers, feel like I’ll need a little bit more time.” He also said he’s happy with his decision to come to Detroit in free agency after reviving his career in Minnesota last season. Rose has averaged 20.8 points and 6.3 assists off the bench in the six games he has played since joining the Pistons. “I feel like it’s home,” he said. “The franchise, the organization, the staff. We’re transparent about everything, they communicate to me, I communicate to them. It’s open dialogue about anything.”
- Darius Garland‘s NBA career has gotten off to a rough start, but the Cavaliers aren’t panicking about their top draft pick, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland was attracted to Garland because of his shooting, but through seven games he is averaging just 7.6 PPG while hitting 29.2% from the field and 25.9% from beyond the arc. “This is his 11th real game in the last 12 months,” an unidentified member of the organization told Fedor. “Of course, he’s going to struggle early on with NBA competition. We believe in this kid.”
- The Pacers knew they were getting a scorer when they picked up T.J. Warren from the Suns, but he’s contributing on defense as well, observes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. “It’s hard to play defense when you’re 12-62 and the best player isn’t even trying to play defense or passing the ball,” said Trevor West, who serves as Warren’s trainer. “What people are seeing now is who T.J. actually is — a person who gets buckets on one end and locks people down at the other end. It’s personal for him. He doesn’t like getting scored on.”