Zaza Pachulia will miss at least four weeks after suffering a fractured foot on Dec. 4.
The Bucks enter a four-game week beginning with a trip to Chicago on Tuesday, and it appears Milwaukee will again be without multiple key contributors.
Following Monday’s practice, the team provided updates on injuries to Larry Sanders, Caron Butler, Gary Neal and Zaza Pachulia.
We’ll start with the biggest news, both literally and figuratively: John Hammond announced following practice that Pachulia, who’s missed the past two games, fractured his foot on Dec. 4 against Detroit. The big man will be immobilized in a walking boot and re-examined by team doctors in four weeks. Milwaukee is already stretched thin at center given Sanders’ injury, and this news should equal more minutes at the five for both John Henson and Ekpe Udoh. Should either or both find their way into foul trouble – it’s bound to happen at least once before Sanders/Pachulia return – things could get interesting. Can you say Miroslav Raduljica? No, seriously, can you say it – like pronounce it? But hey, the 7-footer looked great pretty good against Brooklyn on Saturday, putting up eight points and two rebounds in nine minutes.
Larry Sanders had the pin removed from his right thumb and was fitted for a splint Monday. This is really the first update we’ve received on Sanders since the infamous champagne bottle tossing incident that resulted in a torn tendon in the thumb. He underwent surgery on Nov. 11 and has played in just four games this season. Sanders is still without a firm return timetable, but most estimates place him back in the lineup within a few weeks, perhaps around New Year’s Day.
Little information had surfaced regarding Caron Butler’s knee injury, but the veteran has missed the past six games and is now expected to remain sidelined for another week-to-10 days. Butler is dealing with swelling in his left knee that began back on Nov. 28 and he’s taking a wait-and-see approach to his recovery.
“Whenever I feel good, I’ll be playing basketball,” Butler told Fox Sports Wisconsin. “Whenever I feel like myself, I’ll be playing basketball.”
Take that for what it’s worth, but a 33-year-old experiencing ongoing knee swelling is almost never a good thing.
Gary Neal was a rather mysterious DNP-CD in Friday’s win over the Wizards, and he logged just seven minutes in Saturday’s loss to Brooklyn. Some speculation emerged that he had shot himself out of the rotation (38.2% FG) – Larry Drew did confirm that it was a coach’s decision – but it also appears that Neal’s ongoing battle with plantar fasciitis could be partially to blame for his recent drop-off in minutes. Neal missed Monday’s practice and will not travel with the team to Chicago for Tuesday’s game. He’s dealt with the ailment since last season and could be sidelined beyond Tuesday’s game, as plantar fasciitis tends to linger if left untreated.