Charlie Villanueva has been missed.

When he returns to the Pistons' lineup tonight after serving a four-game suspension for an altercation in last season's home finale against the Cavaliers, Villanueva will provide some much-needed offense off the bench.

"It's real important, especially true with the type of offense we have, using a lot of pick-and-rolls and trying to keep the floor spread for our scores and shooters," Ben Gordon said at Friday morning's shootaround before the Pistons' 96-85 loss at Boston. "Having a guy like Charlie out there definitely does that.

"The defense has to play us a little bit more honestly when he's out there and I'm sure he'll create a lot more open shots for guys once he returns."

Because of his absence, Pistons coach Lawrence Frank has had to use Jason Maxiell and Ben Wallace as his frontcourt options off the bench and they aren't exactly big-time scorers.

Although Villanueva has underperformed his first two seasons with the Pistons, he should give the second unit balance. His rebounding and defense are suspect, but his 6-feet-11 frame is needed on this team.

"Well obviously, everybody knows what Charlie can do offensively, but most importantly he's another big body down there," Gordon said. "Hopefully when he comes back he'll be ready to go and bring that offensive presence in the paint."