The time is near.
As hinted last week, point guard Brandon Jennings may finally be on the verge of returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered almost 11 months ago.
In an astute observation by the folks over at Detroit Bad Boys, Jennings composed a post on Twitter Tuesday evening that read simply, “D-League game Sunday.” The tweet was quickly deleted.
When questioned Wednesday morning, Jennings claimed it was likely, though not guaranteed, that he’d be in uniform for the Pistons’ D-League affiliate Grand Rapids Drive this weekend.
Brandon Jennings says he's "80 percent" likely to play for @grdleague on Saturday. SVG hasn't signed off on it yet.
— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) December 16, 2015
An appearance with Grand Rapids this weekend would provide Jennings with at least one D-League rehab start prior to returning to NBA action. Though Jennings initially stated he’d be appearing on Sunday, the Drive actually host the Iowa Charge on Saturday.
With Jennings long rumored to return to the NBA hardwood around Christmas, a rehab warm-up in Grand Rapids this weekend would make sense. The Drive’s only other game before the new year comes on Dec. 23, which coincides with a Pistons game against the Atlanta Hawks. As such, if Jennings were going to make a D-League appearance, this Saturday would appear to be his lone opportunity.
Despite a slow start, Jennings was arguably playing the best basketball of his career prior to suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon last Jan. 25 against the Bucks.
In a nine game stretch beginning in early January, Jennings averaged 23.9 points, 6.4 assists, and just 1.4 turnovers per game, leading a Pistons team to seven wins in nine games, a drastic turnaround following a disastrous 5-23 start.
Following the acquisition of fellow point guard Reggie Jackson last season, Jennings has been vocal in his support of coming off the bench upon his return. In the final season of a three-year, $24 million deal, Jennings stands to have much to prove to both the Pistons franchise and any potential suitors down the road.
In the meantime, the first real step could be coming this weekend at the Delta Plex, when a familiar face could finally be making his grand reappeance on the hardwood when the Grand Rapids Drive host the Iowa Energy.