Kidd: Bucks’ Sanders away from team due to ‘personal reasons’

Milwaukee center Larry Sanders is in the first year of a four-year, $44 million contract extension. He has started 26 of the 27 games he's played in this season, averaging 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

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MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd said Friday that center Larry Sanders is away from the team due to "personal reasons."

The team had previously been listing "illness" as the reason the fifth-year center has missed Milwaukee’s last four games.

"He’s out due to personal reasons, and that’s it," Kidd said prior to Friday night’s game against Indiana.

Kidd was then asked if there was a timetable set for Sanders’ return.

"There’s no timetable," Kidd said. "That’s a good question so you don’t have to ask me tomorrow or Sunday or Monday."

Sanders has not played since Milwaukee’s 108-101 loss to Charlotte on Dec. 23, which was also the night the Bucks held a players-only meeting for 50 minutes following the game.

Veteran Zaza Pachulia has started at center in place of Sanders, while John Henson has returned from a sprained left foot to serve as the backup center. Kidd told reporters Wednesday in Cleveland that Sanders would not start when he rejoins the Bucks, saying the 26-year-old would need to work his way back into the rotation.

"Being sick, away from the team, guys go on as you see," Kidd said. "We played without him in Charlotte and the other night we played without him. It is nothing new to this ballclub. Injuries happen, so the train keeps moving forward."

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Sanders is in the first year of a four-year, $44 million contract extension signed during the summer of 2013. He’s started 26 of the 27 games he’s played in this season, averaging 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

This season was supposed to be a fresh start for Sanders, who had a tumultuous 2013-14 campaign. He was limited to 23 games last season due to a thumb injury suffered in an altercation at a local nightclub and later a fractured right orbital bone from an inadvertent James Harden elbow.

Sanders was then suspended five games at the end of last season for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. He later admitted the suspension was for marijuana use.

"It’s personal," Kidd said when pressed for any details on why Sanders is absent. "There’s nothing I can give you more. That’s the way the question will be answered."

The Bucks have been playing without Sanders and power forward Ersan Ilyasova, who Kidd said would continue to be out "for a while" while recovering from a concussion suffered Dec. 23.

With Jabari Parker out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the Bucks are short-handed in the frontcourt. Rookie Johnny O’Bryant has been starting at power forward, with Henson as the only available big man off the bench.

Milwaukee had veteran free-agent power forward Kenyon Martin in for a workout in front of the team’s coaching staff Tuesday in Cleveland. Teams may sign players to 10-day contracts beginning Monday, but the Bucks would have to make a corresponding move since their roster is full at 15.

Martin averaged 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 32 games with the New York Knicks last season. The 37-year-old missed the final 35 games with a left ankle injury that eventually required surgery in the offseason.

The 6-foot-9 forward played with Kidd for three seasons in New Jersey and for one year in New York.

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