Note: this video contains a replay of his gruesome fall
Every preseason prediction is built on assumptions, and the biggest one for the Bucks is pretty obvious.
"If Andrew Bogut is healthy..."
It's now been over four months since the injury that shall not be watched (warning: it's spliced into the clip above), but we're still wondering how reasonable that caveat will be. Early summer reports were fairly optimistic (or at least not pessimistic) about Bogut's recovery, with the Bucks suggesting that they expected Bogut to be ready for opening night on October 27. But Bogut's been making the press rounds in Australia this week offering a slightly less optimistic tone. Time to panic?
It's tough to say. Bogut did two interviews this week, and he certainly seems frustrated by the slow progress of his elbow. Still, there's also a while yet before the games count, and hopefully his self-diagnosis is rooted more in frustration than educated long-term prognosis.
At RealGM you can read his full comments from the Aussie show "Thursday Night Live," though the basic summary is that he tried shooting while in Europe but had a fluid build-up in his elbow. And no, he still doesn't know if he'll be ready for the season opener. That uncertainty is echoed in the clip above, a transcript of which I typed out below (because I care). On the progress of the elbow:
It's getting there...it's still a slow process. I was in Europe for about a month and the temperature there helped my elbow a little better than it did here because it's so cold. It's on its last legs, I think it's doing fine, my wrist.
But my elbow's still giving me some trouble, just extending it. It's one of those things where I'm rehabbing every day but it's up to God, up to the healing powers of myself to see when it gets better.
Given how severe the injury looked, it's not that surprising to hear Bogut isn't fully healed, but the main thing is obviously his long term health. The assumption has been that he would at least be ready for opening night, but that does seem to now be a question mark:
I still don't know yet, but I'd like to say yes...[we're] a month and a half out. But it's one of those injuries with the elbow where I could wake up tomorrow and I could all of a sudden have two or three more degrees in it, or I could wake up in a month time and it could be the same. So it's frustrating to do rehab every day and not see immediate results, but that's just the injury that I have.
Have the Bucks perhaps been withholding information on the severity of the injury? Tough to say, but it's probably telling that over the course of the summer they let Kurt Thomas walk and dumped Dan Gadzuric without adding a single true center to replace them (OK, not too difficult in the case of Gadz).
Overall, the Bucks are more versatile and deep up front, but they remain a bit undersized at the center position. Yes, Gooden has regularly played in the middle the past few seasons, but all indications are that he's much better at PF. And while Larry Sanders and Jon Brockman should also be able to play some center depending on matchups, you'd prefer to avoid playing them against big, bruising pivots with some semblance of a post game. Translation: I don't think the Bucks' offseason additions have been factoring in a prolonged absence from Bogut. More likely they were simply addressing the obvious lack of depth at power forward, which also gave them added flexibility at center. But if Bogut isn't available on opening night, there's no clear plan for who would fill in.