After being cleared to make his season debut on December 15, the guard immediately entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. That pushed his return date back 10 days to December 25 in an electric Christmas Day matchup with the Boston Celtics. After playing in three games this season, DiVincenzo suffered yet another setback as he tweaked his recently surgically repaired ankle while going through warmups against the New Orleans Pelicans. After missing the last five games with that injury, it appears that DiVincenzo’s return is on the horizon for the Bucks.
On Sunday, the Bucks released their injury report ahead of their game with the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, George Hill, and Brook Lopez all remain listed as out, while Pat Connaughton has been upgraded to questionable after a recent stay in the health and safety protocols. Meanwhile, DiVincenzo was not listed at all after missing the last five games, which is an excellent development for the shorthanded Bucks.
What Donte DiVincenzo’s (second) return means for the Milwaukee Bucks
Welcoming DiVincenzo back into the lineup would be a big boost for the Bucks at any given time, but they will be especially thankful to have him now. The backcourt has been ravaged by injuries and players in the protocols lately, with all of the aforementioned guards missing time. The Bucks have had to utilize two 10-day hardship exceptions and sign Langston Galloway and Jeff Dowtin to simply stay afloat over this recent stretch. Bringing back DiVincenzo and potentially Connaughton as well will help provide some immediate relief in the backcourt.
The guard brings scoring, rebounding, defense, and facilitating that will help the Bucks deal with their issues in the backcourt. With Holiday and Hill both officially ruled out tonight, DiVincenzo will see more ball-handling duties whether he comes off the bench or potentially gets the starting nod over Jordan Nwora or Wesley Matthews, who have started in consecutive games. Whether he begins the game on the court with the starters or on the bench to provide a second unit spark, the Bucks will benefit from his presence tonight and beyond.
Throughout the three games he has appeared in this season, DiVincenzo understandably struggled after coming off ankle surgery and a bout with the H&S protocols. The guard averaged 7.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 0.7 assists in 16.7 minutes per game. While his rebounding was great, the big thing that DiVincenzo needs to focus on is finding his touch offensively for the Milwaukee Bucks.
One of DiVincenzo’s most prominent flaws throughout his young career has been his finishing, which has carried over into the new season as he shot an abysmal 0-for-7 on 2-pointers over his first three appearances. Meanwhile, his shooting from distance has been solid as he went 4-of-10 in the same timeframe. This latest ankle injury will make it even more challenging for him to find a rhythm. If DiVincenzo can find a sustainable groove offensively while living up to his Swiss Army Knife role by rebounding, passing, and playing robust defense, he could be an X-factor.
It will take time for DiVincenzo to get back up to speed after yet another injury, particularly to one that he just had season-ending surgery on less than a year ago. Yet, today’s game will be a step in the right direction as he will be back out on the floor.
Be sure to catch DiVincenzo back in action tonight at 6:00 p.m. CST on Bally Sports Wisconsin.