Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders underwent successful surgery Thursday to repair fractures to his right orbital bone.
The surgery, performed by Dr. Gerald J. Harris at the Eye Institiute of the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital, is expected to keep Sanders out at least six weeks.
Sanders was injured when he took an inadvertent elbow from Rockets guard James Harden early in the first quarter of Milwaukee’s 101-95 loss to Houston on Feb. 8. He immediately experienced blurred vision and was unable to return to the game. The fracture was later found and surgery was deemed necessary.
After signing a four-year, $44 million contract extension this past summer, Sanders’ season has essentially been lost. He suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb in an altercation at a Milwaukee nightclub in early November, causing him to miss six weeks after having surgery.
Sanders returned Dec. 27 in Brooklyn, but struggled while adjusting to playing with a protective wrap on his right thumb and hand. He was beginning to return to last season’s form before suffering the broken orbital bone.
With his energy and activity level up of late, Sanders was averaging 14.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 63.3 percent from the field in the three February games he played in before getting hurt.
The six-week timetable would leave the final days of March as the earliest possible return for Sanders. Milwaukee plays just eight games in April, meaning Sanders’ season could be over. It would be a tough way to end a frustrating season for the 25-year-old, as he’s played in just 23 games, averaging 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.
Sanders’ contract extension with the Bucks doesn’t kick in until 2014-15, as he was playing this season on the final year of his rookie contract.