Brandon Jennings to miss 3 weeks with impacted wisdom tooth and jaw fracture

Ball Don't Lie

Here's hoping Brandon Jennings has never seen "Dr. Giggles" and is not one of the estimated 90 million Americans who fear dentists, because it sounds like the Detroit Pistons recently acquired new point guard is going to be spending some time getting up close and personal with an oral-care professional:

First thing's first: Owwwwwwwww.

Sorry, Brandon. That sounds like an incredibly unpleasant thing to deal with; I don't envy your predicament, man. (Well, this particular part of your predicament, anyway. The whole "$24 million to play NBA basketball for the next three years" thing seems pretty enviable.) I hope it resolves itself as quickly, smoothly and, above all else, painlessly as possible.

That said, while it would certainly be beneficial to have Jennings in the fold and full-go for the entirety of the Pistons' preseason work, especially given all the new additions and moving parts with arguably the league's most intriguing team — new head coach Maurice Cheeks, new near-All-Star forward Josh Smith, returning hero guard Chauncey Billups, former Italian League MVP Luigi Datome, plus a trio of rookies (shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, spring-loaded forward Tony Mitchell and point guard Peyton Siva) and the immortal Josh Harrellson — you wouldn't think a three-week timeline that costs Jennings only a few regular-season games would be too harmful for Detroit. This follow-up tweet, though, makes the situation sound a bit worse:

There's a pretty big difference between not being able to play for three weeks and not being able to really move your jaw/mouth/head for three weeks. Given that treatment plan, you'd imagine it's going to be difficult for Jennings to do very much in the way of conditioning or even studying work while he's laid up, which could mean that even if he's able to return five games into the regular season, it might be a bit longer before he's able to capably play the sort of major-minutes, ball-dominant playmaking role he's expected to have with the revamped Pistons.

The question, then, becomes who takes the reins for the Pistons in Jennings' absence. With incumbent combo guard Rodney Stuckey's season-opening status uncertain following surgery to repair a finger broken when he caught it in a car door, it's likely that the about-to-turn-37-year-old Billups — who spent the lion's share of the last two seasons either injured or playing off-guard alongside Chris Paul with the Los Angeles Clippers — will get the nod at the point, with re-signed score-first lead guard Will Bynum and rookie Siva getting more minutes at the outset, as well. (Unless, of course, Cheeks elects to leave Billups at the two, start Bynum at the one, and shuffle the likes of Caldwell-Pope, Siva and swingman Kyle Singler into the backcourt rotation as necessary.)

That's not necessarily an awful outcome for Detroit — Billups obviously has plenty of experience running the show, he and Bynum offer a fairly reasonable short-term backup plan, and anything that opens up more minutes for potential floor-spacers like Caldwell-Pope and Singler could help open the floor a bit for a Pistons offense that will likely be cramped at times when Smith and incumbent bigs Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond share the floor. But if Jennings' return to full strength, speed and game readiness takes significantly longer than that three-week window, chemistry could be slow to develop among Detroit's tantalizing collection of fascinating misfits. That could leave the Pistons — who will match up against a solid seven or eight fellow playoff hopefuls in the first 10 games of their schedule — behind the eight-ball in their quest to return to the postseason for the first time since 2009.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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