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News » Bucks' Redd ready to roll He's resting his sore back before opener

Bucks' Redd ready to roll He's resting his sore back before opener

Bucks' Redd ready to roll  He's resting his sore back before opener By CHARLES F. GARDNER

St. Francis - Michael Redd has waited a long time and worked quite hard since his last regular-season game.

That was Jan. 24, when he crumpled to the Bradley Center floor after tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in a game against the Sacramento Kings.

So the Milwaukee Bucks guard doesn't intend to miss the season opener in Philadelphia on Friday, despite sitting out practice the past three days with a strained muscle in his lower back.

"We've been cautious about it, to try to get ready for Friday," Redd said after the Bucks' workout at the Cousins Center on Wednesday.

But could the injury, which he suffered in the final preseason game against Detroit, force him to miss the opener?

Redd frowned and said, "No. Put me in a wheelchair and I won't miss the game. I'm excited about playing again. I've been playing in the preseason but looking forward to a regular-season game."

In fact, Redd played in all eight preseason games, and he had a team-high 23 points in 37 minutes against the Pistons at the Bradley Center on Friday.

But when he tried to practice Sunday, he knew something wasn't right.

"I couldn't move," Redd said. "There were certain moves I couldn't do, so I just scaled back and said, 'Let's treat it.' Now I can move and bend over when I couldn't do it Sunday or Monday."

Veteran Charlie Bell has been practicing with the first team for the last few days and could be inserted in the starting lineup if Redd is unable to play.

"If he (Redd) can't go again (Thursday), we'll be prepared to go on and move in another direction for the game Friday night," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said.

"If I feel we have to change that spot because Michael can't go or Michael hasn't practiced enough this week, that's the way we will go (with Bell)."

The 6-foot-3 Bell, starting his fifth season with the Bucks , said he anticipates Redd will be able to play.

But Bell said, "No matter what, you've got to be ready to go. Throughout the season there's going to be injuries and nicks and somebody's not going to be able to play as many minutes."

Bell shot a dismal 22% (8 for 36) during the preseason, including just 20% (3 of 15) from three-point range.

"The shot is going to come around," Bell said. "That's the last thing you're worried about is your shot.

"I just want to make sure I'm in the best shape possible and defensively I'm in the right spots."

Skiles also professed not to be concerned about Bell's shooting struggles.

"It's like baseball, a guy will go 1 for 16," Skiles said. "You pick out any block of time and eight-game stats can be skewed a little bit.

"When he holds his follow-through and shoots the ball with confidence, he's a very good shooter. There are times he's gotten a little under-confident and he pulls the string a little bit on his shot, and it doesn't go in for him."

The Bucks had a very healthy preseason, but suddenly Redd, power forward Hakim Warrick and small forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute were forced to miss practices this week.

Warrick sat out a second straight practice Wednesday due to a neck injury, and Mbah a Moute returned to the floor after suffering a bone bruise in his right knee Sunday.

So maybe it's not so bad that the Bucks will be the last team scheduled to open the season. The other 29 teams will have played before Friday.

"Even if we weren't (the last team to open), this is the time to start playing a real game," Skiles said. "You get sick of playing against each other, sick of the drill work."

When the Bucks do get going, they will face stiff back-to-back challenges from Eastern Conference foes.

First, they confront Elton Brand and the 76ers on the road, followed by Central Division rival Detroit on Saturday night as the Bucks open at home. "It will be their home opener and they're going to be pumped up and ready to go," Bell said of playing the 76ers at the Wachovia Center.

"Detroit, we've played them twice already. . . . I think it's going to be a statement game for either one of us."

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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Added: October 30, 2009


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