Las Vegas — The outcome of the game wasn’t as important as the status report on first-round pick Jaden Ivey. It’s always scary when a player lands awkwardly on a play. When it’s a top draft pick, it’s intensified.
Jaden Ivey, the No. 5 overall pick, suffered an ankle injury after attempting a 3-pointer in the first quarter of Saturday’s Summer League matchup against the Washington Wizards. He hobbled to the locker room and did not return to play, though he did return to the bench in the second half.
Pistons Summer League coach Jordan Brink said there hasn’t been an update on Ivey’s status, but the concern level doesn’t seem to be high about the long-term outlook.
“I don’t think (we’re) too concerned, but I have to talk (the medical staff) about it,” Brink said. “I haven’t talked to them yet.”
The Pistons were cruising in the first half but had to hold on in the fourth quarter for a 105-99 victory at Thomas & Mack Center.
The injury bug is hitting the roster hard, as Ivey (right ankle) and Saben Lee (left ankle) didn’t return to the game, and Killian Hayes didn’t play.
The Pistons (2-0) had enough depth to withstand the injuries, with Isaiah Livers leading the way with 20 points and five rebounds. Braxton Key added 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Isaiah Stewart 14 points and nine rebounds.
“I thought we moved about ball really well. We had 23 assists, and that was a point of emphasis to get off the ball. I thought we dribbled it and pounded it a bit too much last game,” Brink said. “We did a really good job playing with the point-five mentality, moving the ball and generating open looks.
“We made 14 threes and shot almost 50% from 3. I thought it was just the ball movement and just the mentality of good-to-great passes.”
After building a 27-point lead in the first half and looking to put the game away, the Wizards chipped away at the lead behind Jordan Schakel (24 points) and Jordan Goodwin (20 points and five rebounds).
The Wizards (0-1) got within 91-90 with 3:44 left on a pair of free throws by first-round pick Johnny Davis, but Stewart answered with a 3-pointer. Schakel hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one again, but Key scored on a back-door cut off a nifty pass from Jalen Duren (13 points and six rebounds) and Livers added a 3-pointer to push the lead back to six with 1:50 remaining.
Washington followed with a jumper by Goodwin and a pair of free throws from Schakel to make it 99-97, but Stewart had a tip-in and Livers added two free throws to give the Pistons some breathing room.
The concern about Ivey was at the forefront, though.
“I was upset for him because he’s a competitor. If you saw it, he tried to stay in. I was telling him, ‘Bro, get off the court and get that checked out,’ ” Livers said. “He’s a great player, great kid and talented but off the court, he’s a great teammate already.
“He’s already making that impression that he’s going to be one of the best teammates already, so I support him 1,000% and I hope his ankle’s fine.”
On the play, Ivey landed on the defender’s foot and was writhing on the court for a few seconds. He got up and slammed the scorer’s table in frustration after the injury. After hobbling around for a few more seconds, he was examined by the medical staff.
The defender was called for a flagrant foul, and Ivey stayed in the game and made all three free throws, then headed to the locker room for further examination.
Ivey was having a solid first quarter, with 11 points, including a 3-pointer, a three-point play and five free throws.
“I thought you saw him a little bit more comfortable at the start of the game, already from Game 1 to Game 2, just the pace,” Brink said. “We wanted to give him a little bit more space to operate and use his quickness. I thought you already saw the game slowing down a little bit for him.”
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