Larry Sanders out six weeks after right thumb surgery

Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb Monday, general manager John Hammond announced.

The surgery, performed by hand specialist Dr. Curt Crimmins performed at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, is expected to keep Sanders sidelined for six weeks.

The Bucks also confirmed Sanders injured his thumb during the off-court incident he was involved in on Nov. 3. Both Sanders and head coach Larry Drew had said the injury occurred during Milwaukee’s loss to Toronto on Nov. 2.

Sanders has had a nightmarish start to the season after signing a four-year, $44 million contract extension in August. The 24-year-old struggled mightily in the three games he’s played in this season, averaging just 2.7 points and 3.7 rebounds.

After losing to Toronto on Nov. 2, Sanders was involved in an altercation at Apartment 720, a nightclub in downtown Milwaukee.

According to Milwaukee police, officers were sent to meet the victim of a battery at a local hospital around 2:20 a.m. on Nov. 3. The victim, a 26-year-old man from Sussex, Wis., told the responding officers that his forehead was cut when he was struck by a bottle during a fight that occurred around 1:15 a.m. on Nov. 3. Police say the victim identified the suspect as a 24-year-old man from Milwaukee.

After reviewing the incident, the district attorney’s office determined numerous people, including Sanders, were involved in the altercation.

Police were unable to determine how the altercation started and who initiated it and decided not to issue criminal charges. The district attorney’s office referred the case back to the Milwaukee Police Department to determine if any municipal citations will be issued.

Sanders’ absence is a big blow to the a Bucks team already hit hard by injuries. Milwaukee has been playing without point guards Luke Ridnour and Brandon Knight for most of the season, while starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova has missed significant time with a sprained right ankle.

Veteran Zaza Pachulia is likely to continue to start at center for the time being, especially with second-year forward John Henson already starting for Ilyasova. The Bucks got reserve forward/center Ekpe Udoh back from right knee surgery last week.

Reserve forward Carlos Delfino announced he needs another surgery on his right foot and will miss the entire season on his website Sunday.

Sanders broke out as one of the league’s top defensive centers last season, averaging 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and finishing second in the NBA at 2.8 blocks per game.

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