Tyson Chandler hopes to make his return Wednesday against Milwaukee.
The Bucks’ injury woes have become almost comical at this point in the season, and that does not appear to be changing any time soon. The team practiced with just nine players Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday’s date with the Knicks.
Caron Butler and Gary Neal sat out with injuries, O.J. Mayo was absent due to a personal matter and both Khris Middleton and Ersan Ilyasova were limited.
Butler has missed the last 10 games with swelling in his knee. He sat out two games earlier in the season due to a shoulder injury. Neal played in both of Milwaukee’s games against Chicago and Dallas over the weekend but missed three of the previous four games as he continues to battle plantar fasciitis. Larry Drew said Tuesday that it’s likely both Butler and Neal would miss Wednesday’s game.
Drew was a bit more optimistic when discussing the prospects of Ilyasova and Middleton suiting up against New York. Both players are battling ankle injuries, and while they’re considered questionable as of Tuesday, they’re much more likely to play than Neal or Butler. However, the ankle has clearly affected Ilyasova’s play, as he’s averaging just 4.3 points on a combined 4-of-25 shooting over his last three games.
Mayo has missed both practices this week after the passing of his grandmother on Friday. However, the team expects him to play Wednesday.
For as banged up as the Bucks are, the injury bug may have hit New York even worse. The Knicks will be without Pablo Prigioni, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire, while Tyson Chandler is considered a game-time call.
Prigioni sustained a hairline fracture in his big toe in Monday’s loss to the Wizards and is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks. Felton is out for 2-to-3 weeks with a strained hamstring, and the team learned Tuesday that Martin will also miss at least two weeks with a strained abdominal muscle.
Stoudemire’s situation is a bit murkier. Coach Mike Woodson said Monday that he will be “out for a while,” but Stoudemire took to Twitter to state that he’s “NOT INJURED” and is not traveling to Milwaukee only because the team is playing six games in nine days.
Chandler, who has not played since Nov. 5 due to a fractured fibula, took part in the team’s 5-on-5 scrimmage Tuesday and hopes to make his return against Milwaukee. He’s played in just four games this season, and without him the Knicks are 6-14 with a defense that has allowed opponents to shoot 46.7 percent from the field – good for 26th in the league.
“I’m feeling good out there. Now I will sleep on it, talk to coach tomorrow, go from there,” Chandler told reporters after Tuesdays practice.
“Obviously you have to work yourself into condition,” Chandler said. “You can’t simulate game speed, nothing I do out here. But, the young fellas have done an excellent job helping me get back, playing some 3-on-3, 2-on-2, lot of 1-on-1 with Cole [Aldrich]. That’s gonna help but like you say, you can’t simulate game speed.”