(Updated 7:13 PM CT) Larry Sanders underwent surgery to repair a ligament in his right thumb Monday afternoon. His recovery time is estimated at six weeks. The surgery was performed at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin by Dr. Curt Crimmins, a hand specialist.
Worse, the team revealed that the injury was a result of an off-court altercation.
Sanders originally stated that the injury occurred in a November 2nd home game against the Toronto Raptors. After the game, Sanders vented about a lack of playing time. A few hours later, Sanders injured his hand in the incident at the Apartment 720 night club.
A six-week absence would keep Sanders off the court until about Christmas, and if he doesn’t play until then, he would miss 23 games in addition to the two that he has already missed.
Sanders’ absence likely means more minutes for John Henson, Ekpe Udoh and Zaza Pachulia. Recently Henson has been the Bucks’ starter at power forward in place of the injured Ersan Ilyasova. Udoh returned this week following knee surgery. Pachulia had played well to start the season, but he struggled against Dallas and missed practice Monday. The Bucks also have center Miroslav Raduljica on the roster, but he has yet to appear in an NBA game.
It remains to be seen if and how the team will respond to the revelation that an injury occurred away from the court, especially since the recovery time will cost the Bucks their starting center and star player for at least a third of their season.
Sanders apologized for his role in the incident Friday without acknowledging it as the cause of his injury. “I want to start by saying I put myself in a bad situation over the weekend. I didn’t make the best decisions down the stretch, but I would like to apologize to my fans here and Sen. Kohl, who I will talk to directly. I’ve talked to the team and apologized to them, just for shedding a negative light on our team and our organization.”
Sanders is averaging 2.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season, while shooting 25% from the field.