Should we panic about Andrew Bogut?

Five months after the injury that shelved him for the Bucks first meaningful playoff run in quite some time, we’re still playing the guessing game when it comes to Andrew Bogut’s health.  Unlike Scrabble, this game isn’t so fun.  And it causes people to start to wonder just what the suits in the ivory towers in St. Francis at the Bucks Headquarters are up to.

What appeared to be a rather simple process of hand surgery, the relocating of a dislocated elbow (this may or may not be so simple) and a month or so of rehab, has turned into another unfortunate Bogut injury problem that threatens the start of the Bucks season.  But what was first reported as the area that needed surgery, Bogut’s hand, doesn’t appear to be the problem any more.

When Bogut was first injured, it looked like he’d need a bionic arm to do something as simple as brush his teeth going forward.  It was a gruesome, horrific sight that left fans in the stands out of breath and those at home changing the channel.  His most serious injury had to be the elbow.  Or so we thought.  Two days after his fall however, Bogut was having hand surgery, his elbow was dislocated and his wrist was sprained.

A collective, “huh?” was the response.  Hand surgery?  For a guy who’s elbow was facing the wrong way?  Obviously all that weight crashing down onto Bogut’s entire arm would have effects on areas outside of the elbow, but the reported wrist sprain and elbow dislocation seemed less serious than a hand that required surgery.  But here we are and it turns out our initial reactions were correct.  In an interview (transcribed here) done in August, four months after the initial injury, Bogut doesn’t even mention his hand as an issue, but has bad news on the elbow.

“I’m still not even shooting the basketball,” Bogut said.  “I shot the ball a little bit in Europe and got a bunch of fluid down in my elbow so I had to stop shooting. So at the moment I’m just lifting weights and conditioning so we’ll see what happens.”

Fluid in his elbow?  That sounds about right.  Elbows can’t just explode and be reinserted without issues cropping up down the line.  So we shouldn’t be so surprised that the time table on Bogut’s health is a little murky at this point.  We also shouldn’t crack open each others skulls and feast on the goo inside just yet.  Nor should we all don our conspiracy theory hats.

If you’re the Milwaukee Bucks, speculating on Bogut’s health for this season at the end of last season would do little good.  No one was sure how long it would take Bogut’s elbow to heal and regain its range of motion.  Had Milwaukee said last April that Bogut would be fine in three months and he wasn’t healed by September, panic would be at (as Michael Scott would say) “threat level midnight.”  So, to a degree, that explains the overall lack of information we’ve had on Bogut’s elbow.  If Bogut’s progress appears delayed and panic sets in, ticket sales drop, everyone’s bummed and all the momentum the Bucks have going for them now could be derailed.  All because they would have been trying to give information that really didn’t need to be given.

So I’m not mad at the Bucks for being so hush-hush on the Bogut.

The initial report that listed six weeks of healing followed by rehab sounded hopeful.  It was so hopeful that the thought of an extended Bucks playoff run could bring Bogut back on the court for the Eastern Conference Finals.  Obviously, that was a bit far fetched in hindsight, both in terms of the Bucks winning two playoff series’ and Bogut’s health.   But the regular season is still two months away and some elbow dislocations can take three to six months to properly recover from.  That leaves Bogut still on track to be healthy for the start of the season.

And even if he misses some time in October or November, better that then have Bogut battling issues all season.  The Bucks will do their best to make sure their franchise big man is in good physical standing for season, even if they keep the details to themselves.  If it’s late November and reports on Bogut are still muddied and unclear?  Yeah, then it’s time to grab a life jacket and jump ship.  But until then, let’s all stay on the ship and try not to get sick.

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog

Categories: Injury Report



  1. I just hope that they don’t hurry him back. From the article that talked about his shooting – he also mentioned that he couldn’t straighten his elbow fully either. It all points to a later return than hoped (Dec? Jan? after the All Star?). I can’t imagine that he is going to be at 100% compared to last year either – especially from the shooting perspective.

    The Bucks have beefed up the team in the right areas, however. It should be a fun year!

    • I’m not a monster Packer fan (moderate though), but I do check out the Bucks board here and there. It gets pretty crazy, no?

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  3. There is still a good amount of time until the season even starts, so no need to be too worried at the moment. He needs to be 100% and that very well could be training camp. Well put at the end, let us worry when the story has not changed come November.


    Elbow dislocation are rare and rarely simple. I can’t think of another time that an NBA player sustained such an injury. The troubling thing to me is that once healed the arm might never reach it’s full range of motion. I believe that Bogut is a rightie and a long term hitch could alter his shot and effect the way he shoots. I believe he’ll recover, but then again technically so did Shaun Livingston.

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