The Michael Redd ankle injury conspiracy and other urban legends

Redd (shooting) last played against the KnicksIs he hurt or is he dogging it? What happened on that play against the Knicks ten days ago? Didn’t he just walk off the court with scarcely a limp?  Or, as one Bucks fan wanted to know late in the 3rd quarter vs. Cleveland — “What’s going on with Michael Redd? Does he not want to be on the Bucks anymore?”

She was attractive, very blonde and had hardly been watching the game. Why’d she wait until the 3rd quarter to make conversation? Or am I the idiot for paying more attention to the game than to her?

So many questions, so much speculation, and my objectivity regarding Redd is all but shot. I’d happily trade him for a cooler full of beer and frozen pizza and be content to watch Ramon Sessions, Luke Ridnour and Charlie Bell play out the season as a three-man guard rotation.

That said, if Redd is still committed to Milwaukee and the Bucks, the last thing he would want to do is give GM John Hammond and coach Scott Skiles a good, long look at how the team plays without him. The longer he sits, the more time the Bucks brain trust gets to evaluate what pieces they would go after in a Redd trade.

Skiles is well aware that Redd dogged it under his pal Larry Krystkowiak last season (Redd ducked out for two weeks Jan. 26-Feb.8 with a weird knee injury he got while dunking in warmups) so it’s unthinkable that he would pull the same on a coach who knows this, right? It’s unthinkable that this injury is anything but what it is — an injury that didn’t need to be tested against the Cavaliers in Cleveland. At least Redd is travelling with the team, which he didn’t do under Krystkowiak.

Redd’s questionable to play tonight at home against the injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs, according to the pregame report at JSOnline. With Bucks fans already grumbling, it would be wise of Redd to tape up the ankle, suit up and help his teammates, playing their fourth game in six nights.  

With Redd out, Scott Skiles has taken the opportunity to play Luke Ridnour and Ramon Sessions together — the Bucks are suddenly quicker, more aggressive and more pass-happy than they’ve been in years. They’re also a bit loony sometimes, because there’s no telling when Lucky Luke Ridnour gives way to Crazy Luke Ridnour. Sometimes the two Lukes are on the court together, like they were against the Cavs when Crazy Luke shot a twenty-footer with 7′ 3″ Zydrunas Ilgauskas in his face and Lucky Luke made the shot. Sessions is crazy too — Saturday night he drove it to the rim against Shaquille O’Neal two or three times.

The Bucks have lost three out of four since Redd last played, the losses coming against three of the NBA’s best. The Bucks fell to the Celtics bench which overcame a half-hearted effort by the Celtics starters in Boston. They were stunned Saturday by a well-rested Shaquille O’Neil, who put his sluggish, road weary Suns teammates on his shoulders and led them to the win. In Cleveland Tuesday, the full strength Cavaliers shot a pathetic 3-20 from behind the arc and still the Bucks fell short. Don’t count on Boobie Gibson shooting 0-6 on 3-pointers when the Cavs come to Milwaukee Nov. 29.

The conclusion is inescapable. The Bucks were much more than a Michael Redd away from winning those games. One could argue about the Phoenix game (the Suns not named Shaq were exhausted and had been blown out in Chicago the previous night) but there’s little Michael Redd could have done about Shaq or Amare Stoudemire.

The Bucks need reliable play (offensively and defensively) from the power forward spot; they need shooters; they need to get better defensively; they need Andrew Bogut to stay out of foul trouble and give the team an advantage as he did in Boston, rather than play even (Cleveland) or down (Phoenix). Amazingly, despite Shaq’s big night, the Bucks were only outscored by four points when Bogut was on the floor — that’s how much better they are when Bogut’s in the game, whether he’s scoring or not. Bogut forces other teams to adjust, and the Bucks have got to figure out how to make this an advantage.

Michael Redd can help with some of this, but certainly not all of it.  Redd can’t make Charlie Villanueva play better defense or be smart offensively. Redd’s typical 7 for 16 shooting night isn’t going to change the Bucks fortunes. The Bucks need a couple of players, and unless John Hammond is a magician, teams are not going to give up tenacious defenders who can stick a shot in a trade for Charlie V. It’ll be tough getting more than one of that type of player for Redd.

As long as Redd remains a Buck, the best thing he can do for the team is to play smart offensively, get his 3-point shooting back to 2003 form and work harder on defense. Eight games into the season and Bucks fans are still waiting. The next best thing for Redd is to do what he’s doing now – sit on the bench in street clothes.

Gery Woelfel’s take on the Redd injury in the Racine Journal Times is worth a read. He compares Redd’s ankle injury to the ankle injuries of Spurs guards Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, neither of whom will play tonight against the Bucks. Needless to say, the ankles of Ginobili, Parker and Redd have about as much in common as the injuries to the ankles of Ginobili, Parker and Redd.

Good-shooting forward Austin Croshere has been activated and Tyrone Lue has been deactivated. If you’re sick of reading about Michael Redd, hit the Woelfel link anyway. Gery’s got the scoop on Croshere and why the Bucks did not activate him sooner. 

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