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News » A quick comeback Bogut returns from lower left leg injury

A quick comeback Bogut returns from lower left leg injury

A quick comeback  Bogut returns from lower left leg injury By CHARLES F. GARDNER

Andrew Bogut said he made it a personal challenge to return as quickly as possible from a lower left leg injury he suffered against New Jersey on Nov. 18.

Only 12 days later, Bogut was in the starting lineup Monday night as the Milwaukee Bucks met the Chicago Bulls at the Bradley Center.

Just having No. 6 in the lineup provided an emotional lift for a Bucks team that had dropped its previous four games, including an overtime defeat in New Orleans and a heartbreaking two-point loss to Orlando on Saturday night.

"He can score the ball down there, so it's nice to be able to throw him the ball and let him go to work," said Bucks guard Luke Ridnour. "We don't want to throw all the pressure on him. He's just coming back and he's got to get a rhythm and everything like that, but just having him back in a week and a half instead of four weeks is pretty good for us."

The Bucks were 2-4 in Bogut's absence, as they beat Charlotte and Memphis in the first two games he was out.

The 7-foot center suffered a lower leg contusion and strain when he collided with New Jersey's Sean Williams in the Bucks' 99-85 victory, and the initial diagnosis was that Bogut would be sidelined two to four weeks.

"I think staying home from that road trip was a big key," Bogut said of the Bucks' four-game swing against Western Conference teams.

"I got to do treatment twice a day. I did treatments in the morning for two hours of physiotherapy. Then I went and worked out. Then I did another hour and a half of acupuncture at night. By the fourth or fifth day, I really noticed the difference.

"By Thursday, I could walk around without a boot. Saturday, I did a pool-running session. Yesterday, I did a fitness test and passed. I feel pretty good."

Bogut didn't take it lightly when people shook their heads and talked about him being injury-prone.

He had worked hard to return after suffering a stress fracture in his lower back that kept him out of 43 games, including the final 31, last season.

"You try to take it personally when you get an injury and people say you're going to be out for a certain period of time," he said. "That's all I could do. The only competitiveness I had left in me was to try to come back earlier than they said."

He was averaging 16.1 points and 9.2 rebounds over the first nine games before being injured.

Bogut said he did a lot of moving and cutting in his session Sunday at the Cousins Center.

"I came in and got through it," Bogut said.

The Bucks also got some encouraging news about forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who missed his eighth consecutive game with a left foot strain. Mbah a Moute was hurt in the Bucks' 115-113 overtime loss against Dallas on Nov. 16.

Mbah a Moute is no longer wearing a boot on the injured foot and said he will travel on the Bucks' trip to Washington and Detroit this week and hopes to be ready for one of those games.

"I just don't know when," Mbah a Moute said. "I want to practice first. I want to see how it feels. It's a very tricky injury. There's not much we can do but treat it."

Mbah a Moute said he has been getting soft tissue treatment and working in the pool.

Tailgate time: The Bucks are offering a tailgating experience for their 2 p.m. Sunday game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The team is offering 65 prime parking spots, and fans opting for the deal will get four game tickets and tailgating privileges for packages starting at $96. The spots are limited to the first 65 fans making reservations, and the tailgating will start at 10:30 a.m. at the 5th St. and Juneau Ave. lot.

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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