The Milwaukee Bucks were able to squeak out a win against the Sacramento Kings Sunday night despite having three crucial players out with injuries. The biggest of the three could very well be center Larry Sanders as he is the best defensive player on the team.
Sanders leads the NBA in blocks (3.2 per game) and is the top rebounder on the Bucks (9.1 per game). His presence was clearly missed against Sacramento, as several players on the Kings were able to drive the paint and score around the basket.
This is something Milwaukee simply cannot have if they plan on moving up in the Eastern Conference standings before the regular season concludes.
The 24-year old big man hyperextended his left knee in a win against the Golden State Warriors Saturday night. Sanders came down on his knee in an awkward position when he attempted to block forward Harris Barnes’ shot. The good news is the Bucks believe the injury is not very serious and that Sanders should not miss any significant time, even though he has been in a tremendous amount of pain the last couple of days.
“He’s having a little bit of pain,” Boylan told JSOnline.com. “I don’t think it’s anything too serious. Enough that he will not play (Sunday night). So we’ll have three guys out.”
Milwaukee has a legitimate shot at making a move in the standings despite currently sitting in the eighth seed, considering they are only one game back in the loss column behind the Chicago Bulls in the fifth seed. However, with big games coming up against the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat this week, it is important that the team gets back to full strength.
Even though Sanders’ injury is considered not to be too serious, it is unknown how the knee injury will affect his playing style when he is due back in the lineup Tuesday or Wednesday, when Milwaukee plays another back-to-back set of games. He is very aggressive, and his ability to contribute relies solely on if he can get up high enough to block shots. If his knee acts up, there is a chance he will be unable to consistently do this all game.
For now, all the Bucks can do is evaluate his knee on Tuesday morning and hope he is able to go against the Mavericks.