According to Ryan Kartje of Fox Sports Wisconsin, Ekpe Udoh will miss a significant chunk of training camp with a knee injury he sustained in the game against Cleveland on Tuesday.
Ekpe Udoh sustained a left knee strain in the #Bucks preseason opener. He’ll be out a week or two, it sounds like.
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) October 12, 2012
Among the crowded Bucks’ big man situation, it may be easy to forget about the promise of a full season with Ekpe Udoh. He’s not the guy who fetched a huge payday in the offseason like Ersan Ilyasova. He’s not one of the fresh new faces like Samuel Dalembert, John Henson, or Joel Przybilla. He didn’t play in Summer League like Larry Sanders. So while he may get overlooked in the offseason chatter, Ekpe Udoh has an important role to fill on this team.
Ekpe has only played 23 games as a Buck. Most of his relevant numbers — points per minute, rebounding percentage, turnover percentage, assist percentage — were actually better in Milwaukee than they were in Golden State (according to Basketball Reference). With the casual Bucks’ fan, though, Udoh’s defense presence may not have popped of the screen the way in did when he was a Warrior. Plus, less than two dozen games is a really small sample size.
So as a reminder, here was Ekpe in Golden State.
Of course, in a highlight tape, the emphasis is on blocks and dunks. But Udoh does a whole lot more that than. He sets screens with the precision of a technician. He has a good set of hands. He pokes away passes and dribbles. But more than that, in a crowded rotation of power forwards and centers, Ekpe may be the most balanced two-way player in the bunch. (Or perhaps he’s second behind Ersan.)
In any case, as the Bucks trudge through the preseason, and players play their way up and down the depth chart, keep in mind that Ekpe will be back and keep in mind too that, in all likelihood, he’ll be the backup center behind Samuel Dalembert for the opening game.