Detroit Pistons rookie shooting guard Darrun Hilliard sustained a nose injury while playing pickup basketball last week. However, he is not expected to miss training camp once it commences on Tuesday.
The team has announced that the second-round pick underwent surgery at Beaumont Hospital to repair his broken nose. The operation was reportedly a success but Hilliard will have to wear a protective mask for the next three weeks. It will help with his recovery process as the Pistons clarified that he will continue all basketball-related activities.
The 22-year-old shooting guard's injury and the mask fitted onto his face is similar to other former Pistons players, such as Rip Hamilton, Brandon Knight and Kyle Singler, who endured the same condition.
The setback, with a timetable of three weeks, is not seen as an interference to the rookie guard's preparations for training camp. As mentioned, it will begin on Tuesday and the first exhibition game is slated on October 6 when Detroit will play host to the Indiana Pacers.
In college, Hilliard played four seasons for the Villanova Wildcats and delivered an average of 14.3 points in each of the last two years and shooting 39% from 3-point range in his last season. In June 2015, the Pistons chose him as the 38th overall in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft. He signed a three-year deal with the team, with one year being guaranteed.
However, the 6-foot-3-inch-tall player has disappointed during the Orlando Summer League after averaging nine points each game despite taking the team's second highest number of attempts. Hilliard's percentages were below average; shooting 29% from the field and 31% from three point range.
His chances of landing a position in the rotation will depend on how he performs in training camp and during the preseason. He will compete with the likes of Reggie Bullock, Adonis Thomas, Cartier Martin and Danny Granger.
Speaking of Hilliard and the small forward (SF) position, the Detroit Pistons will also need to reduce their lineup down to the 15-man limit prior to the start of the 2015-16 regular season late next month. At present, the Pistons has six players on the roster who play at small forward.
As a result, some of those SFs will be moved off the team through waivers or trades. David Mayo of MLive.com has shared an in-depth analysis of the team's SF roster and mentioned that it is the position of "greatest intrigue" in training camp.
Mayo explained that the Pistons "are going with Morris and the two rookies (Johnson and Hilliard) at this position, plus perhaps Bullock, and are not looking to invest here otherwise. They have a chance to keep Johnson and Morris together on the cheap, while paying big deals to point guard Reggie Jackson and center Drummond, with both concepts equally important to the team's long-term business direction."
The Pistons small forward roster includes Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock, Darrun Hilliard, Cartier Martin and Danny Granger. They will all compete to fill the last two spots on Detroit's bench.