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- Pistons rookie center Andre Drummond will return after missing 22 games with stress fracture in his back. He will receive his first start as well, with Greg Monroe moving to power forward and Jason Maxiell coming off the bench. Drummond’s return could give the Pistons, who have lost 11 of their last 12, a much-needed jolt. Coach Lawrence Frank expects more from his team collectively. “Let’s not put too much of it on Andre,” he said. “Everybody has to be an active participant in getting ourselves back. We’re excited to see him back but everybody has a professional responsibility to get themselves mentally and physically ready to play at a higher level than we have been.”
- Drummond was on the verge of gaining a starting role before his injury just before the All-Star break. “This is a transition that was earned by Andre,” Frank said. “It’s unfortunate he had to miss 22 games. We’re excited to look at (Monroe and Drummond together) but more importantly, as much as it’s about evaluating individuals, it’s about responding to some of these embarrassing defeats.”
- Pistons reserve guard Will Bynum will miss his second straight game with a right hand strain.
- Toronto power forward Amir Johnson will play despite a left leg contusion suffered against Atlanta on Wednesday. “He’s not 100 percent but he’s going to give it a try,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s a tough guy, a warrior.”
- Pistons point guard Jose Calderon will play against his former team for the first time. Casey said his team will go right at him and try to attack him off the dribble.
– Dana Gauruder