MILWAUKEE – Just when that silky smooth jumper of his was starting to fall just the way Michael Redd likes it, the Olympian’s injury plagued season came to an abrupt and frustrating end.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ leading scorer will miss the rest of the year with torn ligaments in his left knee.
“I’m deeply disappointed but everything in life happens for a reason and this is God’s plan for me,” Redd said in a statement issued by the team. “I have faith in my teammates and coaches to continue to work together to make our fans proud. I will be supporting them wholeheartedly from the sidelines and working equally hard to return to the court in the best condition possible for next season.”
It’s a tremendous blow to a team that has struggled with injuries all season. The Bucks (22-25) are in third place in the Central Division. Redd missed 14 games with an ankle injury and center Andrew Bogut has missed 13 games, including the last six with back spasms.
“Over half our games have been without two of our main players,” coach Scott Skiles said after the game. “Our guys are hanging in there. It’s not always pretty every night, but we’re hanging in there.”
Redd was just starting to look like the player who helped Team USA reclaim the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last summer. Having shaken the rust off from that long layoff in November, Redd was averaging 25.0 points per game in January and shooting better than 51 percent from the field. He had 27 points, including five 3-pointers, in a 133-99 dismantling of Dallas on Wednesday night.
But in the third quarter of Saturday night’s victory over Sacramento, Redd landed awkwardly on teammate Luke Ridnour’s foot after missing a shot near the basket. Redd had an MRI exam on Sunday that revealed the extent of the injury. A surgery date has not been scheduled.
“We’re extremely disappointed for Michael. He was having a good season and he’s a guy that’s such a big part of what we do,” general manager John Hammond told The Associated Press on Sunday. “He’s been so supportive of us and Scott as a coach and what we’re trying to do.”
Redd leads the team with 21.2 points per game and is fifth on the franchise career scoring list. The Bucks went 5-9 without him in November, with Charlie Bell filling in at shooting guard. Bell hasn’t played since Jan. 19 because of a gimpy ankle.
“We did have to play early in the season without him and yes, this is more long term,” Hammond said. “Maybe it does affect the guys from a mental standpoint, but this is professional basketball. These things occur and they’re going to happen again. Guys have a responsibility to step up.”
Much of the scoring load likely will shift to Richard Jefferson, the team’s second leading scorer (17.3) who came over from New Jersey in a trade in the offseason.
With the Bucks struggling to get over the .500 mark, Hammond has talked about trying to make a deal before the trade deadline to make the team more competitive as it pushes for a playoff spot.
Redd’s injury, Hammond said, doesn’t change that view.
“We were going to be active in the process before this happened, and we are going to make the right decision for the future of the franchise,” Hammond said. “There’s no (sudden) reaction because of this. We’re going to stay firm with our approach of improving the team.”