John Henson works in the post against Oklahoma City’s DeAndre Liggins. Henson hopes to return this weekend after missing five games with a lower leg injury.
The Bucks have dropped three of four games since John Henson went down with a lower leg injury on Dec. 27 in Brooklyn. Of course, there are a million other reasons for the losses other than Henson’s absence (That’s right, one million reasons), but the second-year big man was averaging 15.2 points and 10.1 boards in December prior to the injury. He’s been Milwaukee’s best and most consistent player by a fairly wide margin this season, and reports out of practice Monday indicate he’ll be back sooner than later.
Though Henson will sit out Tuesday’s game against Andrew Bogut and the Golden State Warriors, he hopes to play in one of the Bucks’ two games this weekend. Milwaukee hosts Chicago on Friday before heading to Oklahoma City on Saturday.
Henson had the walking boot removed from his left foot Sunday and practiced in limited fashion Monday. Barring any injuries this week, Henson’s return will leave just two Bucks players on the injury list. Zaza Pachulia remains in a walking boot for a foot injury, and it’s still unknown whether Carlos Delfino will play this season.
Obviously, the Bucks want Henson back as soon as possible, but a return Friday would be an extra bonus. In two games against Chicago this season, Henson averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
Whenever Henson does return, Larry Drew will be faced with a difficult decision. Does he start Henson, one of the team’s few bright spots this season? Or does he stick with the Larry Sanders-Ersan Ilyasova frontcourt that propelled the Bucks to the playoffs a year ago? Ilyasova has experienced his fair share of struggles this season, and Sanders’ thumb injury has prevented him from being the impact player many expected him to be after signing the lucrative offseason extension. The way things have gone this year, is it totally out of the question to experiment with a Sanders-Henson-Ilyasova frontcourt combo?
My guess is Henson will initially come off the bench and eventually work his way back into the starting lineup, likely supplanting Ilyasova. Drew brought Ilyasova off the bench for a stretch early in December and has not shown much hesitation in switching up rotations (read: O.J. Mayo). Ilyasova was downright awful for the most part when coming off the bench, but he hasn’t been a whole lot better as a starter.
See the possibility of a Friday Henson return by getting Bucks vs Bulls tickets here.