Cade Cunningham out at Least Next 3 Games for Pistons Because of Ankle Injury

Doric SamOctober 22, 2021

Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham's ankle will keep him out for a little while longer.

Head coach Dwane Casey told reporters on Friday that the rookie point guard won't travel with the team for their three-game road trip that begins tomorrow. 

Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, was ruled out of the Pistons' season opener against the Chicago Bulls because of a sprained ankle. He missed the entire preseason after hurting his ankle early in training camp.

Detroit hopes the 20-year-old Oklahoma State product can turn things around for the franchise. After an eight-year playoff run that included an NBA championship, two Eastern Conference titles and six trips to the conference finals ended in 2009, the Pistons have advanced to the postseason just twice.

Cunningham showed why he was deserving of the No. 1 overall pick during the 2021 summer league. He averaged 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 50.0 percent from three-point range.


.<a href="https://twitter.com/CadeCunningham_?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CadeCunningham_</a> (20 PTS) put on a show last night vs. the Rockets 🍿 <a href="https://t.co/0h9vRzu6Qn">pic.twitter.com/0h9vRzu6Qn</a>

Ballislife.com @Ballislife

Cade Cunningham knocked down 7 of 10 threes 🔥<br><br>24 PTS | 7 REB | 3 AST<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DetroitUp?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DetroitUp</a> <br> <a href="https://t.co/pUGJmNPzIW">pic.twitter.com/pUGJmNPzIW</a>

Cunningham was a standout player in his lone season at Oklahoma State, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals. He was voted as a consensus first-team All-American, becoming the first Cowboy to earn the distinction since Bob Kurland in 1944, '45 and '46.

Cunningham was also named Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 Freshman of the Year, joining Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart and Michael Beasley to win the awards in the same year.

With Cunningham set to miss time, it leaves the Pistons in a tough spot. Detroit already has a very thin roster and was likely heading toward yet another lottery pick. Cunningham's absence will mean more playing time for second-year guard Killian Hayes, who was limited to 26 games as a rookie because of a hip injury.

The Pistons will rely heavily on Jerami Grant, who averaged a career-high 22.3 points in 2020-21 and was a part of the U.S. men's basketball gold-medal team at the Tokyo Olympics.

Detroit will play the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers before returning home on Oct. 30 to host the Orlando Magic. 


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