The Bucks announced today that they would be shutting down Ersan Ilyasova and his balky ankle for the remainder of the season. The oft-injured forward averaged a disappointing 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in just 55 games this season, 47 of which he started. Per the team's official release:
Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond provided the following update regarding Ersan Ilyasova:
"Ersan had his right ankle examined by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Richard Ferkel in Los Angeles on Tuesday (March 25). Dr. Ferkel's recommendation was a period of rest and rehabilitation beginning immediately, rather than surgery. Based on this medical recommendation, Ersan is not expected to play the remainder of the 2013-14 season."
Ilyasova injured the ankle in the preseason opener against Cleveland and struggled to get back to feeling like his old self thereafter, which probably goes a long way in explaining the worst shooting percentages of his career (44.6 percent from the field and 28.2 percent behind the arc). With such a dramatic decrease in his most useful contributions on the court and folks clamoring for an increase in John Henson's minutes, Ilyasova had begun to look rather expendable around the trade deadline but wasn't moved despite indications of his own restlessness as well. But while the hope was that Ilyasova would eventually snap out of his funk and start making his usual second-half surge, the lingering injuries never allowed him to find his groove, and now here we are.
At only 26 years old, Ilyasova probably still has a lot to offer on the court, but whether he does it in Milwaukee is an open question. The ability to stretch the floor and knock down shots will always be valuable, and both Herb Kohl and John Hammond have expressed great admiration for his abilities. On the flipside, he is also owed roughly $24 million over the next three seasons (the third year being minimally guaranteed), numbers that don't look particularly appealing when his shot isn't falling.
On the plus side, his absence will also give way to (hopefully) big minutes for John Henson, whom I'd hope the Bucks still have big plans for in spite of an up-and-down sophomore season. I'm not saying a decision between the two will have to be made this minute, but now management will at least get a better look at Henson and free-agent-to-be Jeff Adrien with Ilyasova out of the picture. It should be interesting to monitor.
Oh, one last thing.