Bogut takes it slowly as he rehabs his back
MEQUON With a week to go until the start of training camp, the Milwaukee Bucks are taking a cautious approach with center Andrew Bogut as he continues to rehabilitate his ailing lower back in preparation for the upcoming season.
It remains unclear how much Bogut will be able to participate in the training camp that will open next Tuesday at the team’s practice facility.
The ultimate goal is to have him ready for the regular-season opener in Philadelphia on Oct. 30.
Bogut made an appearance at the team’s annual golf outing Monday at the Ozaukee Country Club and admitted that his frustration level had run high at times as he tries to come back from an injury that sidelined him for 43 games—including the final 31—last season.
“I still have a ways (to go),” he said. “But in saying I have a ways to go … it’s going to be an everyday thing for me for the rest of my life to keep my back strong. It’s not going to be like, OK, now that I’ve rehabbed my core and have gotten it strong, I can just get back to playing basketball.
“That’s probably the most tricky part for people who have these injuries … rehab the hell out of it and get back and then a week or two weeks or three or four, you feel 100 percent and you feel you can (conquer) the world and can kind of forget about the things you were rehabbing. … Probably the biggest focus that I have is just making sure that I stay on top of things. There’s still discomfort. It’s something that’s probably going to bug me this whole season and probably the rest of my life.”
Bucks coach Scott Skiles believes that Bogut will be ready for the start of the regular season.
“He’s on his way to 100 percent, trying to get there,” said Skiles. “We’re trying to be smart about it. We don’t want to do anything at this time of year where we’re putting too many stresses on him, where he has some kind of setback.”
Bogut was unable to work out for two months after the end of last season but then embarked on what he called a “grueling” summer of rehab that included working with weights, running and doing other exercises. It wasn’t until mid-August that he was able to get back on the basketball court again, and he took part in contact drills for the first time last week.
Bogut said that his back sometimes tightened up on him and that there were times when he moved carefully just to see if he experienced any discomfort.
“It’ll probably take me two or three months to get that confidence, where I’m not thinking about it anymore at all,” he said. “That’s a long way off.”
Bogut, who also missed three games early last season with a bruised left knee, last appeared in a game on Jan. 31, when he played 16 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks. He ended up averaging 11.7 points and 10.3 rebounds in 36 games.
Obviously, he is frustrated that he is not back at 100 percent yet.
“I don’t like to miss games and practices,” he said. “There are a lot of people that will say, ‘You’re still getting paid’ or ‘Maybe he’s not rehabbing as he should.’ … It has nothing to do with that. It’s just a frustrating time. It’s a frustrating time as an athlete. It’s frustrating for fans and frustrating for everybody. I definitely want to be out on the floor. That’s the competitive edge that you lose, that you kind of miss.
“It’s worn me down a lot (mentally),” he said. “Not knowing how long it’s going to take. You get one or two days where you feel 100 percent and you think you’re past it and over the hump, and then the next week it comes back again.
“So you just have to be careful with it.”