Milwaukee Bucks: Updates on Brook Lopez and George Hill return dates

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 25 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 25 (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Injuries have been a recurring storyline for the Milwaukee Bucks this season as the team has not managed to play with their full roster for most of the year. The defending champions will soon be one step closer to finally getting everyone together out on the floor as they received some stellar news regarding two key players on Saturday night.

Prior to Milwaukee’s latest game against the Golden State Warriors, ESPN and Andscape insider Marc J. Spears reported that both Brook Lopez and George Hill could return to the Bucks next week. Of course, Lopez has been sidelined for all but one game this season due to back surgery, and Hill has been out of the lineup since January 28 due to lingering neck soreness. After months of waiting, it appears that two household contributors are nearing returns.

Instant reactions to Brook Lopez and George Hill nearing their returns for the Milwaukee Bucks

Obviously, this is fantastic news, given how plagued the Bucks have been by injuries throughout the year thus far. Getting both back in the lineup will be big, but it will be particularly interesting to see how the Bucks reintegrate Lopez into the swing of things. The big man is Milwaukee’s typical starting center, but his injury forced the team to promote Bobby Portis into the starting unit, and he has played the best basketball of his career with the increased opportunity. Some will argue if the Bucks should shake things up or not, but, in all likelihood, Portis will likely head back to the bench and Lopez will reclaim his starting spot. Yet, that is just speculation at this point.

Either way, getting Lopez back is just what the Bucks need right now with their defense trending in the wrong direction lately. Though the Bucks are 6-2 following the All-Star break, their defense has not looked up to par, which was especially on display in Saturday’s ugly loss to the Warriors. While adding Lopez does not instantly fix Milwaukee’s sluggish defense, it will undoubtedly help, giving them one of the best rim-protectors in the entire association. They have missed him dearly since undergoing surgery in early December, and getting him back will be a sizeable addition.

Hill’s return should also help the Bucks, who are currently down several other bodies on the bench. While the veteran guard was not putting up the gaudiest numbers this season, he had been giving the Bucks quality minutes behind Jrue Holiday at the backup point guard position. The emergence of Jevon Carter helped tremendously in Hill’s absence, as the 26-year-old has given Milwaukee the second unit spark it feels like they have lacked for quite some time. It will be interesting to keep an eye on how head coach Mike Budenholzer manages the minutes between Carter and Hill upon the latter’s return, as Carter has undoubtedly earned his place in the rotation.

While no exact date is confirmed yet, this is welcoming news. Getting these two back prior to the playoffs will give them a chance to regain their footing and prepare for the challenge ahead, which is defending Milwaukee’s title. The Bucks are also waiting for Pat Connaughton’s return as he had surgery in February after suffering a fractured right fourth metacarpal. His potential timetable was initially listed around a month post-surgery, so his comeback date is potentially close as well.

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