Bogut’s injury hurts Milwaukee

All season long the Milwaukee Bucks
were one of the feel-good stories of the NBA.

After enduring five years of
mediocrity the Bucks were finally headed to the playoffs and had the makings of
a deep run thanks to star talent Brandon Jennings.

Now all of that talk may be for
nothing as the Bucks head into the post-season with one of their key players
done for the year.

The Milwaukee Bucks announced that
Andrew Bogut underwent successful surgery on his broken right hand this week. Bogut
sustained the injury against the Phoenix Suns last Saturday.

The injury came when his hand
slipped on the rim. Phoenix’s
Amar’e Stoudemire was assessed a flagrant foul on the play but replays showed
he had little impact on Bogut’s fall, which also caused a dislocated elbow.

Phoenix have been
kept steady since the incident, locking up a playoff berth. The Suns are
currently in a tense battle for the second through fifth seeds.

Bogut is expected to begin rehab in
six weeks and the injury will sideline him the rest of the year. His absence
puts a damper on the Bucks’ playoff aspirations due to Milwaukee’s lack of big men.

Under Scott Skiles, a leading coach
of the year candidate, Milwaukee
has toppled the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks
this season.

Without Bogut the squad will rely
heavily on Jennings
and perimeter scoring from well-travelled journeyman John Salmons. Whether the
side ends facing the Celtics or the Hawks the lack of a post presence will
hurt.

None of the Eastern Conference’s
top teams wanted to draw a first-round match-up against the Bucks until Bogut’s
injury.

After four seasons of playing below
the expectations of a top overall draft selection, Bogut developed into one of
the league’s better centers this season, averaging career highs of 15.9 points,
7.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.

Thanks to Bogut the Bucks were in
the top 10 in the Eastern Conference in points per game (97.8), points allowed
per game (96.2), opponent field goal percentage (45.1) and steals per game
(7.1).

Veteran Kurt Thomas will step into
Bogut’s role, but it will be a large drop-off for a resurgent Bucks team that
is already playing without its franchise guard, Michael Redd.

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