Youngsters are quick healers. That's why Ben Paolucci, the Pistons' team doctor, expected Brandon Knight to play tonight against Atlanta and 19-year-old Andre Drummond to be back soon.

Knight, 21, has missed the past two games with a hyperextended right knee. Late Saturday night, Paolucci said Knight was fine and thought he'd be healthy enough to play against the Hawks at the Palace.

Coach Lawrence Frank said Knight's MRI exam revealed he had fluid behind the knee and the guard didn't feel comfortable enough to play against Indiana.

"You can see it,'' said Frank of the fluid on Knight's knee. "He can't really jump and he just doesn't have total confidence in it. The MRI, like I said, was more for precautionary reasons."

The news also was good concerning Drummond, who suffered a stress fracture in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his back. The team designed a brace, and Paolucci said he has progressed to the point where he could be ready to hit the court within a week or so.

The original prognosis on Feb. 8 was for Drummond, a center/forward, to be out at least four to six weeks.