Here we go again.
MRIs on Michael Redd's surgically repaired knee revealed a strained patella tendon today, shelving Redd for at least two weeks. Redd looked to be in discomfort after a breakaway sorta-dunk in the third quarter, though he continued to play for a few minutes. He didn't return for the final quarter with what was described as knee soreness. The injury is eerily similar to the one he suffered in January 2007, when he strained the same patella tendon on a late-game dunk against Cleveland. That injury ended up costing Redd six weeks on the sidelines.
Jim Paschke tweets that Charlie Bell will start in Redd's place, with second rounder Jodie Meeks expected to deputize. Meeks struggled to find his shot in the preseason and was inactive for the first two games, but shot the ball exceptionally well in Vegas. Considering he scored 23 ppg at Kentucky, the real question is whether he can defend well enough to win minutes over Bell, who hasn't been able to make shots for about two years now but can ably defend three positions. You can guess what Skiles cares more about. With Joe Alexander and Redd on the shelf for a while and Dan Gadzuric in Skiles' good graces for the moment, the Bucks will likely keep Francisco Elson as their only healthy player on the inactive list.
The Bucks claim Redd will be "re-evaluated" after two weeks, so there's no guarantee he'll be back anytime soon. It's a cruel blow for Redd, who worked diligently to come back after tearing his ACL and MCL against the Kings in January. Unfortunately it's also somewhat predictable at this point. Redd missed almost a month of action last November after what was initially thought to be a minor ankle sprain, and his penchant for injuring himself on attempted dunks has become something of a sad joke among Bucks fans.
Losing Redd's scoring ability should also have some ripple effects through the rest of the lineup. For one, Brandon Jennings will be relied on to continue his surprising scoring pace from opening weekend, and we'll likely see more two PG lineups as well. I really don't like the idea of Jennings playing shooting guard, and I'd prefer if he didn't feel the need to put up 20 shots every night. My guess is Jennings will remain the primary ballhandler whenever he's in the game, but he'll probably be shooting more to fill the void.
As the only remaining guy who can consistently draw fouls, Hakim Warrick will probably see even more minutes and could start if Skiles decides he needs Warrick's scoring more in the starting five than off the bench. Though Kurt Thomas started the first two games, Skiles decided to start Warrick in the second half against the Pistons and it paid major dividends as the Bucks ran riot over the Pistons in the third quarter. Then there's Andrew Bogut, who's taken just 16 shots in the opening two games. The Bucks need a lot more from Bogut even if Redd's around, but hopefully the latest news provides an opportunity for Bogut to become a bigger part of the offense.
Then there's the issue of how the injury affects Redd's trade value. It's one thing to pay Redd $35 million over the next two seasons if he's healthy--overpriced yes, but at least he would provide some much-needed scoring punch. Instead, Redd's durability has become an annual headache that makes his contract an even bigger albatross and almost impossible to deal.