Bogut back with Bucks along with 9 new players

Andrew Bogut’s much anticipated summer break didn’t turn out the

way he’d hoped.

The Milwaukee Bucks center wanted to rest for the first time in

years, but after a gruesome fall in a game last season, he spent

most of the summer either in a cast or in long physical therapy

sessions.

Bogut is back after dislocating his elbow, spraining his wrist

and breaking his hand, and he’s surrounded by a lot of new

teammates.

Milwaukee will have at least nine new faces in a rotation that

included Bogut, Brandon Jennings and John Salmons. Bogut hopes the

Bucks will finish in the Eastern Conference’s top four and that

he’ll be part of the playoffs for the first time since his rookie

season.

”It all starts with how well we mesh as a team and how well we

get along with each other. We have a very deep team this year,

that’s a good thing sometimes and sometimes that can cause problems

with guys off the floor being unhappy with playing time and so on

and so forth,” Bogut said on Monday, the day before training camp

opens. ”If we can get away from those distractions and play as a

team, we’ll be good.”

The Bucks signed Drew Gooden early in the offseason and traded

for Corey Maggette, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Jon Brockman. Other

additions include Keyon Dooling, Earl Boykins and the three rookies

from this year’s draft.

”These guys, looking on paper, we’re a great team, we’ve just

got to get it together,” Gooden said. ”You’ve got a point guard

in Brandon Jennings that makes it a lot easier and a dominant

presence down low in Andrew Bogut. That’s the operation right there

from top to bottom. Everybody else has to trickle down and find

their way in.”

Jennings said the new faces will cause training camp to be

intense.

”When you think about it, we’re like 10 deep right now, to tell

you the truth. There’s two starting fives,” Jennings said.

”There’s going to be a lot of fighting, a lot of trash talking,

it’s going to be very intense this year, and I can’t wait for

that.”

The 21-year-old Jennings has come to rely on Bogut perhaps more

than any other point guard-center combination in the NBA.

”You already know how I feel about Andrew Bogut. We had that

pick and roll thing going like John Stockton and (Karl) Malone back

in the day,” Jennings said. ”It’s good to have him back, he was

out here playing with us. It seems like it’s a little bit more

mental than anything else for him right now. Just so he knows he

has that confidence and he’s able to do that with his arm.”

Bogut said he’s ”90 percent” but that he wouldn’t be fully

healthy for another 6 to 12 months. Still, he’ll find out in the

coming weeks just how limited he might be following his fall on

April 3 that’s been seen more than 493,000 times on YouTube for

those who have a strong stomach.

”There’s still swelling that pops up every now and then when I

do too much and that tissue is still trying to heal itself and

fight and fight and fight. It’ll still take a little while to be

100 percent pain free,” Bogut said. ”I can pretty much do

everything right now, now it’s just a matter of I can’t really get

up a lot of shots in a (short) period of time.”

Bogut is used to longterm injuries.

He sustained a hairline stress fracture in his spine two years

ago and missed the majority of the 2008-09 season. He said he

learned from the first experience to trust that rehab will work,

but said this arm injury was much more frustrating.

Coach Scott Skiles said Bogut is not any more likely to be

injured than his teammates in training camp and rarely notices when

his big man’s elbow starts aching.

”It’s only when he misses a shot,” Skiles quipped, before

giving a rare compliment. ”The one guy that has noticeably stepped

up from a leadership standpoint is Bogut in the last couple years.

He more or less kind of ran the scrimmages here in September as far

as getting the guys in and holding some guys accountable.”