ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — Back at practice Monday, Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova is expected to play Tuesday against Phoenix after missing Saturday’s loss to Indiana with a right ankle injury.
Ilyasova said he injured the ankle by stepping on someone’s foot in Friday’s loss to Houston. He didn’t feel the injury when it occurred, but the ankle swelled up and didn’t allow him to play the following night.
“I worked hard on that ankle and (Bucks athletic trainer) Marc Boff did too,” Ilyasova said. “I feel much better.”
After an early-season slump, Ilyasova has played much better since coming off the bench, averaging 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds and shooting 48.8 percent from beyond the arc in the 19 games he’s spent as a reserve.
With the Bucks in the midst of a four-game losing streak, Ilyasova realizes that there could come a point where he’s asked to move back into the starting lineup, regardless of how comfortable he’s become coming off the bench.
“Coach is trying different lineups and stuff,” Ilyasova said. “We have a lot of games in front of us and hopefully we will snap out of it and play much better.
“This is my fourth year with this coach and assistant coaches so I kind of know what routine we go through. It’s not easy to adjust to it, but it’s my fourth year so I kind of just go with the flow and wherever it takes me.”
One player that has had to adjust to playing a new position is Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. After moving into the starting lineup at power forward in December, Mbah a Moute found a groove offensively. Now he’s starting at small forward, which he’s said has been an adjustment, mainly on offense.
“You get the ball in a different situation,” Mbah a Moute said. “I’ve played both positions. Every time it takes me a little while to adjust but it seems like when I adjust I go right back to the other position. It’s basketball at the end of the day.
“I’ll settle down but it is going to take me a couple games to get back to being able to know the guys you are playing with on the floor and get adjusted to where they play, knowing where the ball is coming from, where the ball is going to be at. Once I do that I’ll be alright.”
Local connection: One player on the Suns will take special joy in Phoenix’s lone trip to Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Former Milwaukee Vincent star Diante Garrett made the Suns roster out of training camp after playing professionally in France last season following his collegiate career at Iowa State.
Garrett’s father, Dick, played five seasons in the NBA — including 15 games with the Bucks in the 1973-74 season.
Dick Garrett now works as an usher at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, but will take Tuesday night off to watch his son play in his hometown for the first time.
A reserve guard, the 24-year-old Garrett has appeared in just six games for the Suns this season, scoring a total of five points.