Bucks Friday: Mbah a Moute taking it slow

ST. FRANCIS, WIS. — It hasn’t been an easy road back for Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The surgery he had on his right knee to relieve patellar tendinitis is rare, and it’s not a black and white recovery process.

Still, Mbah a Moute is sensing that he’s getting close to returning to the floor.

“I’m close,” Mbah a Moute said after practice Friday. “I’m just out there working out now. I’m getting better pretty much every week, I think sometime by the end of the month I should be out there practicing and playing a short time after that. I’m excited about that.”

Mbah a Moute, 26, hasn’t set an exact target date for his return and doesn’t want to rush back.

“I want to be out there, no matter what,” he said. “But I have to be conscious of what I’ve been through and what I’m going through. I don’t want to go through this again. I have to do whatever I can to make sure I’m 100 percent before I step out there so that stuff doesn’t flare up again and so I can just play the whole season without any problems.”

Last season, his fourth in the NBA, that wasn’t the case. Mbah a Moute battled through the entire year with severe pain in the knee caused by the tendinitis. It was the first major injury of his career. 

He knew that surgery was likely going to cost him time early this season, but it was but it was something that had to be done. Orthopedic surgeon Neal ElAttrache performed the procedure in May. 

“It’s not like you broke your arm and you put screws in it and six months you are good,” Mbah a Moute said. “That’s been frustrating.”

It has also helped that the Bucks have started the season 5-2. Seeing his teammates play well has caused the team’s best defender to fight the temptation to rush back.

“I’m happy that the team is playing well,” Mbah a Moute said. “If we can keep doing that it’s fun for me to watch them play like that. It gives me more satisfaction and less pressure to force myself into it and make sure I’m 100 percent when I come back.”

Young Hornets: Saturday will mark the only trip to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for New Orleans this season, which means Bucks fans have just one opportunity to see No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis in person.

With Davis and fellow lottery pick Austin Rivers in the starting lineup, the Hornets have played well early. New Orleans entered play Friday with a 3-3 record, including a win over Chicago without Davis, who missed two games with a concussion. Bucks coach Scott Skiles has been impressed with how Hornets coach Monty Williams has his squad playing.

“You can tell from watching them that they are organized and they are trying to teach their young players to play the right way, which is what a lot of teams are doing,” Skiles said. “Those guys are getting an opportunity to play and they are doing a good job. As always, we have to worry about ourselves and come ready to play, but there are certain things we have to do against them.”

Milwaukee catches a bit of a break for the second time this week. The Hornets will be in the second game of a back-to-back Saturday night, just as Indiana was Wednesday. Milwaukee doesn’t play its second back-to-back of the season until Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. New Orleans plays Friday night at home against Oklahoma City.

Lending a hand: Doing their part to help local families have an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving, Bucks guard Brandon Jennings and forward Larry Sanders delivered meals to 150 pre-registered Milwaukee-area families Friday afternoon. 

The duo spent their afternoon at the House of Peace in Milwaukee as a part of the House of Peace Holiday Food Basket Program. 

The meal included a turkey, as well as stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce and more. 

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