ST. FRANCIS, Wis. -- Bucks center Larry Sanders had the pin removed from his surgically-repaired right thumb Monday and was fitted for a splint.
The next step is to see how he responds in the coming days and there's still no timetable on his return. Sanders said a few weeks ago that getting the pin out and the hard cast off were big steps and the biggest remaining hurdles would be catching and holding a basketball.
Sanders tore a tendon in his right thumb during an altercation at a downtown Milwaukee nightclub on Nov. 3 and hasn't played since. He underwent surgery on Nov. 11.
Butler remains out: After already missing Milwaukee's last six games, forward Caron Butler is expected to be out another week-to-10 days with a swollen left knee.
Butler first felt pain in his knee while boarding the team's flight to Charlotte on Thanksgiving and swelling had set in by the time the plane landed. He tried to loosen the knee up to play against the Bobcats on Nov. 29 but couldn't go and hasn't played since.
"Being in this position, being a captain on the ballclub and coming back to my hometown, and only missing two or three games last year (while playing with the Clippers), now missing so many early on, it's frustrating," Butler said. "But I have to be patient and let the healing process play its course."
While hopeful to be back in another week, Butler is unsure when the swelling will go down and allow him to return to action.
"Whenever I feel good, I'll be playing basketball," Butler said. "Whenever I feel like myself, I'll be playing basketball."
Neal's injury flares up: As if there wasn't enough injury news Monday, Bucks guard Gary Neal sat out of practice Monday and won't make the trip to Chicago for Tuesday's game due to the plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
The injury has bothered Neal since last season, but he's missed just one game because of the foot pain this year. Neal didn't play against Washington on Friday, but Drew said that was a coach's decision.