The Bucks (7-11) learned Thursday they will be without starting forward Bobby Simmons for the rest of the season. Simmons, who had yet to play in 2006-07 hoping rest would help his injured right foot and ankle, decided on undergoing surgeries to remove bone spurs from his right ankle, correct a cyst on his heel bone and ease plantar fasciitis.
“It wasn’t excruciating pain, but you know your own body and it’s just a feeling that I had that I never felt before,” said Simmons, who was second on the team in scoring last season behind Michael Redd. “Some days, it throbbed a little bit, some days it didn’t. It really just mattered how much pain it could be possible to handle.”
Milwaukee, though, has been able to get by with contributions from Charlie Bell, Ersan Ilyasova and David Noel, who have combined to average 18.5 points and 6.4 rebounds—better statistics than Simmons’ 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season.
Having a prolific scorer like Redd also helps the Bucks. He netted 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of Milwaukee’s 102-94 win Wednesday over Portland.
Redd has scored a league-high 537 points this season, but is third in scoring average at 29.8 ppg.
Ruben Patterson added a season-high 26 against his former team as the Bucks made five of their eight shots from the field in the extra period.
“I had fun out there tonight,” Patterson said. “Like I said, every time I play my former team, I’ve got something to prove.”
In better injury-related news, the Bucks may have starting power forward Charlie Villaneuva back for this game. The 22-year-old suffered a torn elbow ligament Nov. 14 after averaging 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in his first eight games. Villanueva was acquired from Toronto in June for guard T.J. Ford.
Like the Bucks, the Grizzlies (5-13) also are trying to put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Memphis won for the second time in three road games Wednesday with a 98-96 victory at Boston as rookie Rudy Gay hit a 15-footer with 2.6 seconds remaining for the winning points.
“It feels good for us to win on the road,” Memphis point guard Chucky Atkins said. “I think this needs to carry over. We need to take what we did tonight and build on it next game.”
Gay, who like Villanueva played college ball at Connecticut, has averaged 13.0 points in his last four games.
“I knew it was going in,” Gay said about his winning shot. “I didn’t feel like it was the end of the game at all, it just felt like any other jump shot I’ve took.”
Starting forward Hakim Warrick has 283 points in 18 games after scoring just 278 in 68 last season appearing primarily as a reserve.
Memphis has won six of the last eight games between the teams to tie the all-time series at 10 wins each.