Villanueva battling plantar faciitis
“I’m done with the mask. I graduated from the mask. I’m done with it,” Villanueva said with a laugh Monday.
Villanueva played some of Sunday’s game without the mask and admitted he has not officially been cleared to play without it, but expects to be before Tuesday’s game.
The plantar faciitis is another story, Villanueva has no idea how long the injury will linger.
“With plantar faciitis you really can’t tell,” Villanueva said about when it will get better. “You just to have treat it and hopefully it will get better sooner rather than later.”
Villanueva does not expect to miss any time with the injury, but admitted it’s a frustrating injury.
“It’s frustrating because there is a sharp pain every step I make,” Villanueva said. “I can’t really move out there, very limited. Every step I take I’m feeling a little bit of pain.”
Gordon, Hamilton remain questionable
Ben Gordon (ankle) and Richard Hamilton (hamstring) went through some of Monday’s practice, but their status for Tuesday’s game is still questionable.
“They were out on the floor,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “They were there, they went some script and stuff so that was encouraging.”
Starting five status quo
Earlier this season the Piston lost seven straight and made a change to the starting lineup. Detroit went on to win six out of seven after the change, but have now lost four straight. Kuester was asked Monday if he is thinking about making a change again and said it’s something that he is constantly evaluating.
“It’s something you do try to evaluate and you want to make sure you’re making the right decision for the team,” Kuester said. “We’ll just sort of sit on that right now. I don’t want to give you a definitive answer because you never know who is going to be healthy and who’s not going to be healthy. We made a change and will probably not make a change for the Charlotte game, but we just don’t know. I would say it’s a good question because we did do that (before). Right now, I’m status quo … in the same token, we’ll have to evaluate it again.”
Tuesday’s game against Charlotte starts an important five-game stretch to end December for the Pistons. Detroit faces the Bobcats, Toronto twice, New York and Chicago, all Eastern Conference teams either right ahead or right behind the Pistons (11-16) in the standings.
“Each game is important, especially these games where we’re all in that bubble, in that mix,” Villanueva said. “We are taking it a game at a time and try to win every game, it’s possible to be honest. All these are winnable games, but we have to learn how to win on the road, that’s going to be very important for us.”
The Pistons are just 3-11 on the road this season and will be playing a Charlotte team that has added Stephen Jackson since the last time the two teams met at The Palace on Nov. 11.
“It’ s a Charlotte team that we’ve beaten so we know that they’re going to be prepared for us,” Villanueva said. “I think Stephen Jackson helps them a lot. He’s another offensive weapon out there, another guy we have to focus on. I think they’re a better team with him.”