Most of the Pistons’ players were hitting the showers immediately following their loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
Not Aron Baynes.
The Australian big man who racked up 4 points, 2 rebounds and a steal – playing in only the final 5 minutes of the game – was straight onto the stationary bike and being put through his paces by the team’s trainers as he battles to recover from an ankle injury.
After missing a handful of games due to the injury, Baynes appears to be recovering well – even if he is still playing under the restricted minutes protocol as set by the training staff. As he sat down to talk to talk to starting5online with both feet in ice buckets, he said that he’s starting to feel a lot more comfortable out on the floor again.
“it’s alright, there’s no complaints – it’s just a matter of whenever my numbers called, I get out there and do what I do, and try to help the team,” he said. “Right now a few rotations are different, and we’ve just got to try and figure out what works for the team.”
The Pistons have been battling through a number of injuries this season with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope the latest casualty, leaving Thursday’s game during the first quarter. But Baynes says that the team is working hard to push through.
“Every team in the league is dealing with injuries and it’s just a matter of finding a way to play though it, and making the most of every opportunity – and that’s what we’re trying to do now.”
“We’ve gotta find out what works for us so we can get back in the winning column and string a few together.”
While Boban Marjanovic has been trying to fill Baynes’ role, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has repeatedly talked about the struggles with Marjanovic’s concentration levels when playing extended minutes, resulting in costly turnovers.
It might be tough going in Detroit at the moment, but Baynes returning to full strength will have a dramatic impact on the team, and provide some much needed support to Andre Drummond who has been playing extended minutes in Baynes’ absence.
While Baynes has been working through his injury problems, his countryman Joe Ingles has been lighting things up from beyond the arc this season, and recently commented that he wouldn’t be entering the All Star Weekend 3-point competition unless another Australian joined him.
Baynes says the key to getting Ingles to compete lies with Dante Exum.
“I’m sure Dante can make his way in there in some way. If he talked a little bit of smack to him, I think that would do it. It’s about getting Dante in there. Then the Utah boys can go out and have a bit of fun on All Star Weekend together,” he said
When asked if he’d like to have a crack himself, Baynes was very quick to respond, “No way” while laughing.
Featured Image: USA Today