GREEN BAY, Wis. — Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Knight will miss Wednesday’s preseason game against the New York Knicks at the Resch Center in Green Bay due to a sore left hamstring.
With Milwaukee being careful with Knight, Bucks coach Larry Drew will start veteran Luke Ridnour at point guard.
“He was talking about it during training camp and at this stage we don’t want to aggravate it any more,” Drew said. “With just two exhibition games left we want to make sure we don’t limp into the regular season.”
Knight was bothered by the injury before Milwaukee’s preseason game on Oct. 10 against Minnesota in Sioux Falls, S.D., and almost sat out. He didn’t start the game and was limited to just 12 minutes off the bench.
“Just making sure everything is right and ready for the season,” Knight said after shootaround Wednesday morning. “It’s been getting better. I’ve just been continuously working on it. I’m just making sure I’m careful, ready and 100 percent for the season.”
Shooting guard O.J. Mayo has rejoined the team after missing Monday’s exhibition game in Chicago due to a personal matter. Mayo will rejoin the starting lineup Wednesday, while Drew will stick with the small lineup and start Khris Middleton again at power forward.
With starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova still out due to a sprained ankle, Drew has been trying the 6-foot-7 Middleton at power forward with John Henson coming off the bench.
“This is the time to experiment with it,” Drew said. “We have to be prepared in the event that we do decide to go that way during the regular season. It’s a chance to get another look at it, at least.”
Drew said he may increase Zaza Pachulia’s minutes Wednesday after the reserve center played 17 minutes Monday in his return from an Achilles injury.
The Bucks open the regular season next Wednesday at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. Both teams are still battling injuries, as the Bucks will play their final two preseason games without forwards Ersan Ilyasova (sprained ankle), Ekpe Udoh (right knee surgery) and Carlos Delfino (right foot surgery).
Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire and guard J.R. Smith scrimmaged for the first time Tuesday, but both won’t play Wednesday against the Bucks as they recover from knee surgery. Stoudemire is hopeful to play in the season opener, while Smith must serve a five-game drug suspension when deemed healthy.
New York will also be without starting point guard Raymond Felton and forward Kenyon Martin against the Bucks on Wednesday, but guards Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni will play after missing time with elbow injuries.
“I’m sure both teams are just going to play it out,” Drew said of Wednesday’s exhibition game. “Neither team will really tip their hand. That’s what preseason is about.
“The Knicks play a physical game. I want to see our guys respond to the challenge more than anything. This is another opportunity to play a team that’s picked to do well.”
In an effort to match what he called a physical Bucks team, Knicks coach Mike Woodson plans on playing 6-foot-11 center Cole Aldrich more on Wednesday night. Woodson, like Drew, is looking to see more of a physical presence from his frontline.
“The bigs I like, you have to have some nastiness to yourself,” Woodson said. “I’m not saying hurt anyone, but we had our problems last year at the rim when we lost a lot of our bigs.
“It can’t come from just guys like Ron (Metta World Peace) and Iman. We have to have everybody that’s nasty around the paint, sacrificing their bodies a little bit for the sake of the team.”