Finally some good news on the injury front: after missing Friday's loss in Dallas due to concussion-like symptoms, Andrew Bogut practiced with the team on Sunday and is expected back in the Bucks' starting lineup on Monday in Philadelphia (via Jim Paschke). Bogut hit his head on the floor while attempting to take a charge by Ben Gordon late in the fourth quarter of Thursday's win over the Pistons, but stayed in the game despite appearing visibly shaken up on the play. Little was said about the hit after the game and Bogut was reportedly expecting to play on Friday, but he failed a screening test as required by the NBA's new concussion policy.
Bucks players suffered a series of concussions last season, with Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova each missing extended periods and Luc Mbah a Moute also missing three days following a blow to the head on New Year's Day. That experience prompted Mbah a Moute to criticize the league for lacking a standard protocol for dealing with concussions. Last month the call was finally answered when the NBA announced a new concussion policy featuring baseline cognitive testing each training camp and guidelines for determining when a player can resume playing following concussion-like symptoms. While no one wants to see Bogut missing games, the fact that the league's new guidelines may have prevented Bogut from exacerbating the injury is a very good thing.
The Bucks have lost their first seven road games of the season and face another stiff challenge in their Martin Luther King Day matinee against the Sixers (9-3), who have surprised many with their high-flying start to the season. However, five of those losses have come without Bogut, who missed four games due to a family issue in Australia before his absence on Friday. Monday's game could also mark the return of Beno Udrih (strained left shoulder), who also practiced on Sunday but will be a game-time decision in Philly. Still no word on when Mbah a Moute (knee tendinitis) could return, and Mike Dunleavy is also out at least another week or two with his groin injury.
Bogut's inability to stay on the court has also likely contributed to his disappointing start to the season. While a healthy right arm has allowed him to look more confident at the line and even make a number of jump shots, Bogut has looked uncomfortable in the post and has shot 50% or worse from the field in all six of his games this season. That's translated into a career-low 43.9% mark from the field and 45.9% in true shooting terms, limiting the Bucks' inside-out game. Bogut's rebounding has also fallen from its normally outstanding levels (15.5% of all available rebounds this year vs. 18.3%, 17.9% and 19.4% the previous three seasons), and he was dominated by the Pistons' Greg Monroe (32 pts on 16 shots, 16 rebs) on both ends even before his injury on Thursday.
Bogut has previously maintained that he's 100% physically, so there's no reason to think he can't get back to his usual self on the defensive end while hopefully also raising his offensive game to something more closely resembling his breakout campaign of two seasons ago. A short training camp and missing most of the last two weeks certainly hasn't helped, but the hope is that staying on the court will help put Bogut--and the Bucks--back on track.