Andrew Bogut Done for Season: Are the Milwaukee Bucks Finished as Well?

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IApril 5, 2010

PHOENIX - JANUARY 11:  Andrew Bogut #6 of the Milwaukee Bucks in action during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 11, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Rockets 118-110. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NBA&hl=134284&id=1119" title="Andrew Bogut" target="_blank">Andrew Bogut is down for the count.

The elbow injury the Milwaukee Bucks center sustained in Saturday's game has turned out to be much more serious than originally feared, as Bogut reportedly has dislocated his right elbow, sprained his right wrist, and broken his right hand.

Talk about a trifecta.

But this isn't the time to sit around moping, dropping your head because the loss of Bogut means you can kiss your fantasy basketball playoff hopes goodbye or because betting on the Bucks down the stretch just lost its luster.

It's time now (if it already hadn't been) to start thinking about the big picture.

Milwaukee has been riding on cruise control after exploding out of the gates following the All-Star break, and the Bucks were just starting to seriously be regarded as one of the better Eastern Conference teams.

Having Bogut and a well-balanced offense (along with a solid defense) intact meant a healthy, confident bunch going up against supposedly more athletic, superior teams in the playoffs.

Without Bogut, however, Milwaukee's inside game is severely diminished, and now the Miami Heat would even appear to be a formidable opponent.

The first thought is that the Bucks will be forced to turn to backup center Kurt Thomas, and/or give more minutes to forward Ersan Ilyasova.

News flash: Thomas isn't getting an injection of "make me younger" juice anytime soon, and while Ilyasova is a quality, versatile forward, he's not a center and he's not Bogut.

With the trade deadline past, the Bucks are facing a three-way road, one in which they need to choose their direction wisely, but also very quickly.

They could opt to try to pick through the weeds of what is left of the free agency pool, scouring the veterans or young bodies who could step in, and hopefully help fill the void.

True, there are likely some players who could help round out a decent bench. But that's for another article, and there isn't anyone out there who can save the season all by themselves.

Secondly, Milwaukee can do as it's done best for the better part of the last decade and curl up in the fetal position.

The Bucks can forget all that coach Scott Skiles has worked for, and erode back to the team that allows inside baskets, doesn't defend, and doesn't rebound.

They could give up, realize they're out-manned, and cut their losses.

Then again, option three, that third door, the one people rarely choose, remains open. The Bucks could swallow that jagged little pill called perseverance, strap on their fighting gear, and give this whole "playoffs" thing an actual go-around.

Bogut was their centerpiece, their bowl of lemons, their festive herring, or basket of flowers and grass.

He held them together, and for the first time since he was selected as the top player in the 2005 NBA Draft, he was taking charge.

But he's gone. All that's left are the dinner plates, the utensils, and some hungry veterans who are eager to prove us all wrong.

Luke Ridnour can still score, help ease the load for rookie point guard Brandon Jennings, and play better defense than anyone is likely ever to give him credit for.

Jerry Stackhouse can still give solid minutes off the bench. Thomas can still bang it inside and bring down boards.

The only questions is, how much do the old guys have left, and how much can the young guys add in support?

With the whole world constantly asking and wondering this season, "Who are these Milwaukee Bucks?" it's painfully ironic that with the loss of Bogut, we may finally begin to find out.


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