AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -Chauncey Billups doesn't do interviews before he plays, so when he spoke to reporters, that provided the update of the night.
The All-Star point guard said his right hamstring was not healthy enough to help the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of their second-round series with the Orlando Magic.
``My improvement from yesterday to today was amazing, but I still haven't been able to sprint full court and that's a concern,'' Billups said Tuesday night. ``I'm getting better, but I'm not quite ready yet.''
Detroit replaced Billups in the starting lineup with rookie Rodney Stuckey and planned to rely on Lindsey Hunter, a veteran with more than a decade of playoff experience. Seldom-used reserve Juan Dixon also provided depth at point guard.
Billups was hurt early in Game 3 and did not play the following game, which Detroit won to take a 3-1 lead in the series.
The Pistons were back at home with a chance to become the first franchise to play in six straight conference finals since the Los Angeles Lakers did it from 1984-89.
``I hope we can end it,'' Billups said. ``It would be great on a number of levels.''
A win Tuesday night would give Detroit a needed break as Boston and Cleveland play out their Eastern Conference semifinal, which is tied 2-all heading into Wednesday night's game on the Celtics' home court.
Billups went through a strenuous workout confined to a 15-foot area on Monday, the day before Game 5, and did some basketball-related drills during the morning shootaround Tuesday.
``In the long run, it's better to be safe than sorry - especially at the time right now,'' he said.
Billups has averaged 17.7 points and 2 1/2 assists for every turnover in 105 playoff games as a Piston since 2003, when their run of conference finals appearances started.
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