The Bucks clarified the injury statuses for a number of their players after a practice session today. The latest serious injury belongs to Zaza Pachulia, who broke his foot and will be out for at least a month.
According to a release by the team,
General Manager John Hammond announced today that Zaza Pachulia (6-11, 240) suffered a right foot fracture on Dec. 4 vs. Detroit. Pachulia’s foot will be immobilized in a walking boot and re-examined in four weeks.
Pachulia, 29, had an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) exam on Dec. 5 and was examined by team orthopaedic physician Dr. Michael Gordon, who diagnosed the injury. Pachulia has not played in the last two games.
In addition, Larry Sanders had a pin removed from his thumb. He now has a splint on his hand instead of a cast. Caron Butler is expected to be out another 7 to 10 days with knee swelling.
Gary Neal did not travel with the team to Chicago for the team’s Tuesday night game due to a flareup of his plantar fasciitis, per Andrew Gruman of Fox Sports Wisconsin.
The Bucks will be very thin in the middle for at least the month of December. Expect John Henson to start a bunch at center, even though his natural position is power forward, and count on Ekpe Udoh getting starter-like minutes even if he is coming off the bench because he would still be the top backup to both Henson and power forward Ersan Ilyasova.
The biggest impact of the Butler injury — in terms of minutes — will be that Giannis Antetokounmpo will continue to get minutes as the primary backup at the small forward spot. He has averaged 21 minutes per game over his last five games.
But if the remaining Bucks can stay healthy over the next few months — and that’s not a small if — then these injuries have multiple silver linings. All the young Bucks — Henson, Giannis, Brandon Knight, Nate Wolters, and even Miroslav Raduljica — can expect an uptick in minutes. And the 4-16 Bucks can continue their quest to hoard the white spheroids that will give them their best chance in years at drafting a franchise-altering player.
So for now, sit back, enjoy the youth movement, and hope that futility trumps utility when it comes to deciding on a panic trade.