Wallace directed some of his frustration at Saunders during a couple of timeouts, but the coach didn't take it personally.Both Saunders and Chauncey Billups suspect that Rasheed's frustration stems from a bum right ankle, which has swollen recently. He's tried to play through the ailment, but by overcompensating he's now dealing with soreness in his left knee and ankle, as well.
"He took it out on everybody," Saunders said, with a smile. "I am just glad I am not living with him."
It's worth noting that Wallace's right ankle is the one he injured during last year's playoffs. He didn't miss a single game when he sprained it last May ... but that's not necessarily a good thing. Detroit News beat writer Chris McCosky explains in a piece for HoopsWorld.com:
By all accounts, Wallace should never have continued playing. Spurs Tim Duncan similarly injured his ankle at The Palace on Christmas Day 2005 and he was on the shelf for more than a month.So what now? The Pistons will give him a couple of games off (Nets today, Sonics on Sunday) with the hope of having him back for the primetime TNT matchup on Dec. 21 against the Nets.
The injury was so severe Wallace had to take regular rehabilitation treatments on the ankle all the way through July. That was a big reason why he came into camp out of shape.
But who takes Wallace's place in the starting lineup the next two games? The easy answer is Antonio McDyess, but he passed on the chance when Wallace missed a game last year because he's most comfortable coming off the bench. Dale Davis? The Pistons play well when he's on the court, but it's a bit redundant to have both him and Nazr Mohammed on the court at the same time. What about second-year man Jason Maxiell? I would absolutely love to see that happen just because Max would bring the Pistons much-needed energy in the first quarter that's been lacking for most of the year ... but I question if Saunders is willing to get that creative using a player who's seen his share of DNP-CDs this year.
In any event, it may not matter too much since McDyess will most likely see a spike in playing time, regardless of when he enters the game. McDyess is shooting just 38.8% from the field so far, but Saunders thinks a few extra minutes and an increased role in the offense might be just what he needs to shake his slump.