John Henson will see plenty of minutes in the absence of Larry Sanders.
All-Star Weekend wrapped up Sunday evening with the Eastern Conference edging the West 163-155 in the highest scoring All-Star Game in league history. The Bucks had no stake in the game, failing to produce an All-Star for the tenth straight season, and the team’s brief, albeit welcomed, four-day break came to an end with Monday’s practice at the Cousins Center.
Thirty games remain on the schedule for the 9-43 Bucks, holders of the NBA’s worst record. Given the team is yet to win back-to-back games this season, Milwaukee doesn’t appear poised for much of a second-half surge, particularly without the services of Larry Sanders for at least the next six weeks. Sanders underwent surgery last week to repair a fractured orbital bone and could conceivably miss the rest of the season.
The Bucks do, however, expect both John Henson and Caron Butler to return to the lineup Tuesday against Orlando. Butler missed four games with a sprained ankle, while Henson missed last Wednesday’s game with an ankle issue. Also expected to return in the near future is shooting guard O.J. Mayo, who’s sat out the last 10 games with an illness and subsequent conditioning issues. Mayo is considered questionable Tuesday.
Without Henson, coach Larry Drew will continue to turn to Zaza Pachulia and John Henson as his primary options at center. Drew said Pachulia will remain in the starting line up – as will guard Nate Wolters – while Henson will likely slide over to play the five in certain situations. Miroslav Raduljica also figures to see an uptick in minutes, though he played just 17 total over the last two games without Sanders.
It remains to be seen how this Milwaukee roster will look after the Feb. 20 trade deadline has passed, as nearly the entire roster is rumored to be available. Though the Bucks are devoid of any overly tantalizing trade chips, it would not be a surprise if names like Gary Neal, Ersan Ilyasova, Luke Ridnour or Mayo find new homes by the end of the week.