Redd taking it slow, eyes March return

Michael Redd has become the forgotten man.

The last time he took to the court for the Milwaukee Bucks was more than a year ago, Jan. 10, 2010, when he was posting up Kobe Bryant and the Lakers star grimaced as soon as Redd’s leg hit the floor.

"He heard it pop and knew something was wrong," Redd recalls of Bryant’s reaction. "Right away."

So it’s been out of sight, out of mind for the former Olympian.

Redd first tore his anterior cruciate and medial collateral liagments in his left knee in January 2009 against Sacramento. He returned for the Bucks’ opener last season but played just 18 games before suffering the same injury in the Staples Center against the Lakers.

This time around, Redd has opted to take things slow and received the Bucks’ blessing to rehabilitate his knee back home in Columbus — where he also led Ohio State to a Final Four.

"This time I wanted to extend my rehab to a year," Redd said. "To do it right."

"The Bucks have been terrific about everything," he added.

Redd said he’s close to heading back to Milwaukee and his goal is to return to the court shortly after the NBA All-Star break, likely the first week of March.

It’ll basically be a 25-game showcase since Redd’s lucrative, six-year, $91 million contract he inked back in 2005 expires at the end of the season. He is the fifth highest-paid player in the league this season at $18.3 million.

After the season ends, look for Redd, who has spent his entire 11-year NBA career on losing teams, to go somewhere he can challenge for an NBA title.

The Bucks have made the postseason just three times in Redd’s career — the last coming in 2006.

"I’m hoping to get 20 or 25 games in this year," Redd said. "Then I’ll figure everything out."

Redd is now 31 years old and compares his situation to that of Grant Hill — who battled injuries for years before coming back to form.

"The last time I was 100 percent was at the Olympics," said Redd, who played on the 2008 Olympic gold-medal team. "I feel like I’ve been robbed of two years of my career. I’m hoping to get them back."

"This past year has been life-changing for me," he added. "It’s made me realize how hard you have to work when you get older."

The 6-foot-6 Redd is lighter now, down maybe 10 pounds or so from his 225-pound playing weight the last time he took the floor.

But his perimeter shot hasn’t gone anywhere.

Redd works out about five hours per day in Columbus. There’s a couple of hours of therapy that has now become training, 90 minutes or so on the court and then another hour of Pilates or weight training.

"I feel great," Redd said. "And I can’t wait to get back on the court. I just wanted to make sure I was completely ready this time."