Bucks center Larry Sanders will be sidelined through the All-Star break after suffering a fractured eye socket during a loss to the Rockets on Saturday.
Sanders was unavailable when Milwaukee faced Boston on Monday and he will miss his team's game against New Orleans on Wednesday. Officially, Sanders is listed as out indefinitely with an orbital bone fracture.
The Associated Press reports that Bucks coach Larry Drew told reporters that Sanders was experiencing blurry vision.
"That's really unfortunate because the kid has been playing well," Drew said, according to Fox Sports Wisconsin. "He was starting to play with a rhythm and played two of his better games this year. It's just real unfortunate that he sustained the injury."
The injury occurred with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the first quarter of Houston's 101-95 victory on Saturday. Sanders took a left elbow to the face from James Harden as the two players battled for a rebound. The fourth-year center crumbled straight to the court and was subbed out at the next dead ball. He did not return, finishing with two points (on 1-for-3 shooting) and four rebounds in four minutes.
"Sorry I couldn't come back out last night Bucks fans," Sanders wrote on Instagram, alongside the following picture which shows his badly bruised face. "I really appreciate everyone's support at the game. Hope to be back soon!"
Larry Sanders took an elbow to the face. (Larry Sanders on Instagram)
Sanders, 25, is averaging 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 23 appearances this season. He missed nearly all of November and December after tearing a ligament in his thumb during a late-night fight at a nightclub. That injury that required surgery.
The bad news just keeps coming for Sanders, who inked a four-year, $44 million rookie contract extension in August. In October, Sanders’ former agent sued his current representation for alleged client poaching prior to Sanders’ new deal. In November, Sanders and new Bucks coach Larry Drew reportedly didn’t see eye-to-eye about Sanders’ role.
Shortly after word of his beef with Drew broke, Sanders was involved in a late-night nightclub incident which left him with a torn ligament in his thumb. Sanders was later cited by police for his role in the incident, which allegedly involved throwing champagne bottles, and previous animal cruelty charges against Sanders also came to light.
Upon his return to the basketball court, Sanders was involved in a verbal altercation with teammate Gary Neal following an early-January loss. Then, just a few days later, he was ejected for throwing a flagrant elbow at Thunder center Steven Adams.
Milwaukee entered Monday's action with a league-worst 9-41 record. Sanders' defensive rating of 104.7 is among the Bucks' best, but he hasn't yet reclaimed his form from last season, when he ranked second in the league in blocks per game and placed seventh in the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year voting.
Drew started a frontcourt of Zaza Pachulia, John Henson and Khris Middleton on Monday and can turn to 26-year-old rookie center Miroslav Raduljica for minutes off the bench in Sanders' absence.
Video via YouTube user NBACalifornia | Photo via Larry Sanders on Instagram