The lone dark spot from Thursday night’s thumping of the Miami Heat included Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo limping off the court with what looked like a left foot injury. Now, according to a report from Shams Charania, we know the severity of it:
Losing any semblance of depth is a blow to a Bucks team with title aspirations, but losing one of their starters who has been a key component of both their opening and closing lineups throughout the year is a hurdle Milwaukee will have to overcome. DiVincenzo has a history of foot issues, missing most of his rookie year with bilateral heel bursitis in his left foot. He’s mentioned doing significant rehab work to come back from that injury, so one hopes he’ll be able to do the same here and make a full recovery.
For Milwaukee, the obvious question is going to be who will replace DiVincenzo in the starting lineup. Bryn Forbes took on that role to start the third quarter in Game Three, but we’ve also seen Pat Connaughton take up the mantle at times this year. The latter has actually helped close out some games too this season, and looked relatively comfortable doing so, but he doesn’t offer near the same level of activity or agility on defense that Donte does. Milwaukee will need someone who is able to keep up with slick guards if Jrue Holiday ends up having to guard more stout players offensively, and I’m not sure there’s an obvious solution. We all know Forbes limitations defensively (primarily from a physical standpoint, not effort) and I’d expect to see Jeff Teague dusted off. If he was looking for a chance to crack the Playoff rotation, he’s got it now, in what should be a slightly expanded role for the veteran guard.
Donte hadn’t been providing much of a scoring punch, but his intuitiveness on the boards (on both ends) has been a boon. Connaughton has some of those same characteristics thankfully. It’s a bummer for the Big Ragu, but he’s also been a divisive player among the fanbase this season and hasn’t taken any significant step forward after last season. He’s only a fifth starter, but any sort of dropoff can be difficult when you’re dealing with the upper echelon of the NBA should the Bucks advance to future rounds. We’ll see how Bud juggles his lineups heading forward.