Almost a year after tearing his ACL and MCL in a January game against Sacramento, Michael Redd is back at square one--if that. The Journal-Sentinel is reporting Redd re-tore both ligaments in his left knee last night in L.A. and will miss the rest of the season. Obviously we wish Mike the best as he has to begin yet another long rehabilitation.
At this point it's difficult to say if and when Redd might set foot on a basketball court again, though it won't be anytime soon. Redd returned in time for camp this year, but along with a recurring patella injury in the same knee he rarely looked like the player he once was.
On the court the Bucks have gotten pretty used to playing without Redd, so they're hardly in uncharted waters. Much has been made of the Bucks' better record without Redd this year (9-7 vs. 6-12), but that promising streak also included Brandon Jennings' hot streak and a fairly easy schedule early in the year. To be clear, I don't think a rusty Redd proved particularly helpful to the overall cause, but it could have been worth the trouble if Redd had gotten his game together--which we saw flashes of over the past few weeks.
Still, it was difficult to imagine an aging Redd being part of the Bucks' long-term future, especially given the scoring bent of their young point guard. Jennings still has a long way to go before he's an efficient scorer in the NBA, but the talent is clearly there. And pairing him with an offense-first, defense-last player like Redd probably isn't ideal given Jennings himself is still trying to figure out the nuances of playing NBA defense.
Filling the Void
In the short term Charlie Bell will likely start at shooting guard, though Carlos Delfino and Jodie Meeks will also get increased opportunities as well. We can also expect to see plenty of the Jennings/Luke Ridnour combination that Scott Skiles came to rely on when Redd hurt his patella in November.
With Redd out and Roko Ukic now in Turkey, the Bucks will have only 13 players to choose from when everyone else is healthy, so I'd assume Gadzuric or Elson will be the lone inactive player on most nights. The chain reaction of losing Redd's minutes at the 2/3 and Delfino playing more at the 2 should also open up time for Joe Alexander, who returned to practice last week and is traveling with the team on the current trip.
Redd has an $18.3 million player option for 10/11 that he'll obviously pick up, though that was a virtual lock even if he stayed healthy the rest of the year. The NBA's standard insurance contract picks up 80% of a player's salary once he has missed 41 straight games with the same injury, so the Bucks should begin to collect some payback on Redd's deal late this season. If Redd is unable to return next season--which given the severity of second injury probably shouldn't be ruled out--his contract could become an especially attractive expiring deal a year from now. In that scenario his deal would be similar to Raef LaFrentz's a year ago: a big expiring deal that was being 80% covered by insurance.
Pretty heartbreaking for Michael, who spent so much time coming back from the same injury and is now faced with doing it all over again. Stan from Bright Side of the Sun was nice enough to get his reaction in Phoenix today. Check out the mp3 HERE.
It's worth noting that at this point he plans to have the surgery "sometime later this month or in February, which is earlier than it was last year." He's heading back to Milwaukee today, where he'll rehab before surgery and then head back home to Columbus after surgery.