Presumably, the pylon was reattached somehow. There wouldn't have been time to build an entirely new one.
That's about the only way to explain it, the pylon must have floated away by the time the Defiant got there.
Huh? What are you talking about? They've been foreshadowing that in the credits since the beginning of the season, and clearly it's had to have maintenance done on it ever since, as every episode you see those workers still repairing it in the credits. That's incredible
Actually, I would have been okay with that. I'm reminded of the season 2 finale of B5 when a section of that station was blown off, and the first shot of season 3 was a work-crew reattaching it. All DS9 had to do would be to not show the station at the start of The Quickening
, several weeks go by with Bashir on that planet, and at the end show a shot of some guys in EVA suits welding the pylon back on.
It would've been cool if they had kept the station looking like that (well, with all structural damage closed off, but the pylon still missing), or at least for a few episodes. But I guess they must've found a spare pylon somehwere on Cardassian ebay, presumably from another Nor-type station that had been deconstructed.
I think it would have been cool if the new pylon had been built using Starfleet technology so that it looked different from the Cardassian architecture, sort of like a Franken-station. But I can understand why they didn't do it.