The Milwaukee Bucks have been coping remarkably well without big men Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova. Unfortunately, it appears they'll have to keep it up for a while longer.
Kidd hinted at extended absences for both players ahead of Friday night's matchup with the Pacers in Milwaukee, with Sanders' issues now being attributed to the ominous-sounding "personal reasons." Our Aron Yohannes was on the scene with the latest from Kidd:
Jason Kidd said that Larry Sanders has missed time due to "personal reasons". No timetable for his return. #Bucks— Aron Yohannes (@AronYohannes) January 3, 2015
Kidd when asked about Sanders: There's nothing I can give you more. That's the way the question will be answered.— Aron Yohannes (@AronYohannes) January 3, 2015
Kidd also said Ersan Ilyasova will be out a while. "He's got a ways to go," he said. #Bucks— Aron Yohannes (@AronYohannes) January 3, 2015
Though he's struggled with foul trouble and finishing, Sanders had thus far avoided the sort of on- and off-court turmoil that derailed his 13/14 season. After missing the end of the preseason due to an undisclosed "outpatient procedure," Sanders had started 26 of 27 games for the 17-16 Bucks, averaging 7.3 ppg and 6.1 rpg in just 21.7 mpg while also ranking sixth in the entire league with a defensive real plus-minus of +3.73 pts/100 possessions. Still, the Bucks are 3-1 since he last played on December 23, with Kidd getting strong contributions from Zaza Pachulia and John Henson in the interim. That's raised obvious questions about the Bucks possibly looking to move one of their centers before the February 19 trade deadline, though the team's current lack of depth up front has limited trade talk thus far.
Either way, it's difficult to speculate what this latest news could mean for Sanders' future in Milwaukee until we get a better sense of what the issue might be. While "personal reasons" could mean almost anything, Sanders' checkered history will necessarily have many fearing the worst. Whatever it is, we'll cross our fingers that Larry can get through it is as soon as possible -- for both his sake and the team's.