(left) hasn't yet played for the Bucks
this season, and will be out for the next 4-6 months following foot surgery. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Despite an initial projection that Bucks small forward Carlos Delfino could return in November or December, it now appears that he could miss the entire season.
According to Delfino's official website (via Bucksketball), a broken bone in his foot -- suffered while playing for the Rockets in the postseason -- did not heal as expected. Delfino underwent surgery last May, but doctors identified a setback in his bone's regrowth in August and he is now scheduled to undergo a second surgery.
The estimated recovery time after this surgery is four to six months, likely ruling out Delfino for the season. That's a tough break for a newly assembled team scrapping to make the playoffs, though Milwaukee does have the benefit of a relatively deep roster to address Delfino's long-term absence. Caron Butler will continue to log the majority of the minutes at small forward, with Khris Middleton and rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo -- who looks to be more NBA-ready than most thought at the time of Delfino's signing -- filling minutes as needed. Players like O.J. Mayo, Gary Neal and Ersan Ilyasova (upon his return from an ankle injury) could also be stretched out of their natural positions to play some small forward, though coach Larry Drew has stuck to fairly conventional lineup sets.
If the need arises, the Bucks do have some wiggle room -- a few shades less than $2 million, per Sham Sports
-- under the salary cap that could be used to acquire another wing player. Standing in the way of that possibility is the fact that Milwaukee is already operating with a 15-man roster, which meets the league maximum. Considering that every Buck is guaranteed his full salary for this season and that the two lowest-paid players on the roster -- Middleton and rookie second-round pick Nate Wolters
-- are a bit too valuable to cut loose, Milwaukee would need to be particularly enamored with some free agent wing player to open up a roster spot.