The Pistons' pregame locker room has hip-hop music blaring as players stretch and watch the opposing team's game film, but when Jason Maxiell walked in, catcalls and whistles were heard.

Maxiell, decked out in a nice gray suit and sunglasses, squinted at the attention from Greg Monroe and Will Bynum, playfully waving them off. It was his first game back among his teammates since undergoing surgery for a detached retina in his right eye.

He won't play for the rest of the season, and he's pondered the possibility that he's played the last game for the only franchise he's ever known. He'll be a free agent.

"I know I didn't want it to end like this, and possibly my career as a Piston," Maxiell said. "It's tough to swallow that mentally."

Maxiell, 30, had his best season since 2007-08, when he finished high in the sixth man voting, averaging 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.8 minutes (72 games, 71 starts), essentially keeping the seat warm for the eventual arrival of rookie Andre Drummond.

Maxiell arrived under the tutelage of Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess and passed down that wisdom to Monroe and Drummond.

"Greg came in three years ago and had Ben Wallace here to teach him," Maxiell said.

"With Dre this year, it'll take him a couple years to figure it out, but he'll be more physical down low and (know) how to approach the game mentally."

Maxiell found it slightly ironic that of all the nicks and bruises he's sustained as an undersized big man, it was an eye injury that he didn't see coming that ended his season.