The Milwaukee Bucks will not have guard Malcolm Brogdon back in the mix for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics.
Milwaukee had hoped that Brogdon, who has been sidelined since mid-March with a plantar facia tear in his right foot, would be back in time for the semifinals. Coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters on Thursday that his return in the series hasn't been ruled out, but that Brogdon will not play in Sunday's Game 1 (1 ET, ABC) or Tuesday's Game 2.
"We’ll reassess him after the first two," Budenholzer said, per Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re hopeful that it (his return) will be this series. He’s been kind of on track and meeting (benchmarks), but he’s still got some hurdles to cover. An important 5-6 days here. We’ll assess it when we kind of get through this next little wave.”
Brogdon had played through the plantar fasciitis pain for weeks before the tear and, overall, had a career season in 2018-19 with averages of 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in 64 games. While Brogdon has been out, the Bucks have turned to a variety of guards to fill his role, including Sterling Brown, George Hill and Pat Connaughton.
Collectively, that trio is averaging 8.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 3 apg in the playoffs while also providing a variety of different skills that helped Milwaukee sweep the Detroit Pistons in the first round.
“That’s our job," Connaughton said, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "For us as guys that are coming off the bench, it’s about having that spark, having that energy, impacting the game in wherever it needs to be. I think that’s something we’ve done a great job of throughout the entire season.
"We have a little bit of a deeper rotation than people really, I think, give us credit for. But that allows us to have that chip on our shoulder, allows us to focus on the job that we need to do when our number’s called.”
The second-year Brown has filled into Brogdon's starting spot and played well, averaging 8.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 3.8 apg to date while also making 55.6 percent of his 3-pointers (5-for-9). Budenholzer has been impressed with the second-year guard's ability to step up his game in the postseason.
"He’s gotten a great opportunity and he’s done really well with the opportunity," Budenholzer said. "He’s helped us in so many different ways and we need him to continue. I think he’s getting better with games and with practices and the plan for him, for us, is to just keep getting better.”