Speaking on the Lowe Post podcast on Grantland.com, Dudley—who was traded to Milwaukee in August—said he played through the injury at the request of Doc Rivers.
Dudley appeared in 74 games last season for the Clippers, who acquired him from the Phoenix Suns in a three-team deal in 2013.
His numbers dipped across the board from his last season in Phoenix—his scoring fell from 10.9 points per game to 6.9, his rebounds dropped from 3.1 to 2.2 and his shooting percentages dropped from 46.8 percent overall to 43.8 percent and 39.1 percent on three-pointers to 36.0 percent.
"Here's the thing with the Clippers," Dudley said. "When I hurt my back in Vegas, I show up there in September trying to get with the training staff, and sometimes when you have an injury it leads to another injury, so basically I was nursing what I thought was tendinitis at the time in my knee, basically I really couldn't bend my knee 90 degrees so I had to deal with that for the first month or so. I basically went to Doc Rivers and said, 'Hey, I've never had to deal with this, I can't bend my knee, all my shots are short, I can't move laterally, I need to sit out.' At that time Matt Barnes was out with a calf injury and J.J. Redick was out with a herniated disk and he said, 'Hey, I need you to give me 10-15 games and when those guys come back, I'll give you a rest.' "
"Well, during that time I just couldn't guard anyone. I couldn't make a shot, all my shots were short and then confidence happened. By midseason, I get my X-ray and I had a little fracture in my knee so I knew what I was feeling was more than tendinitis. By midseason, [Rivers] brings in [Danny] Granger and I was sent to the pine. The trade [to Milwaukee] was the best thing for my career, where I got with a training staff that got me healthy and when I'm healthy, I'm the player you see now and the player you saw in Phoenix."
Dudley said the Bucks' training staff helped heal his right knee "within a couple of weeks" of his arrival in Milwaukee. This season he is averaging 8.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, and shooting 50.6 percent from the floor and 44.2 percent from three-point range.
The Bucks are sixth in the Eastern Conference at 30-23 entering the All-Star break.
- Mike Fiammetta