On the day of the trade deadline and a finals rematch against the Phoenix Suns, the Milwaukee Bucks brought us bad news. As if a loss didn’t hurt enough, it’s hurting a little more this morning as we find out Pat Connaughton suffered a grave hand injury on Thursday night.
Pat Connaughton is out with a right 4th metacarpal fracture.
He will not return tonight.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 11, 2022
Shown in a brief replay from TNT, it looked as though Connaughton was knocked against Chris Paul where he knocked his hand against Paul’s forearm. What should’ve been a foul, resulted in an injury. Pat immediately went to the locker room and did not return for the remainder of the game.
Fans soon found out that Connaughton suffered a right fourth metacarpal fracture. Coach Mike Budenholzer reflected on the injury in the postgame press.
“We’re trying to figure out who will see him next, what the next step is. Unfortunate, but I think we’re hopeful that he’ll be able to return…when that is, not exactly sure. But we’ll see.”
Heading into Thursday’s game, Connaughton was averaging around 27.2 minutes per game, 10.2 PPG, 4.4 REB; He additionally was shooting 47.3% from the field, and 41.3% from behind the three.
What Does This Mean for the Bucks?
It really sucks that the injury occurred on Pat’s shooting hand. A fourth metacarpal is in your ring finger, and the fracture happened at the base of his finger between the knuckle and the joint. Taking a look at what to expect in terms of recovery time, hand fractures usually take a couple of weeks. Jeff Stotts, a certified athletic trainer who specializes in analyzing NBA injuries, gave a brief insight in a 2015 article,
“The fourth and fifth metacarpals, located beneath the ring and pinkie fingers respectively, are mobile in order to allow motion at the wrist and pinkie. The mobility here often necessitates additional healing time.”
Stotts also states that the average number of games someone with a fourth metacarpal fracture misses is around 17. Putting that number into perspective, and given Connaughton is healing right on track, he would return March 29th.
Just as the Bucks were starting to get healthy, it looks as though we’re taking a step backwards.
With Brook Lopez still sidelined, and George Hill recently placed on the bench due to neck soreness, adding Connaughton to that list just makes things more stressful. Arguably, Pat and Hill were key pieces to the Bucks’ production on the court; Having them both benched puts them at a standstill.
Usually, with injuries or sidelined players, the Bucks would turn to Donte DiVincenzo. However, DiVincenzo, along with Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye were traded at the deadline on Thursday. The bench looked pretty empty, and Milwaukee had to turn to Lindell Wiggington and Jordan Nwora. Nwora played 15 minutes in Thursday’s contest, and seeing both him and Wiggington on the court for an extended period of time shows how severely the team is lacking in depth.
Surprisingly, the bench scored 28 points. The production was good, but in terms of the long-term factors, it won’t hold up. Pat Connaughton was the leading second unit scorer, and we’re unsure on when he will return. Due to the trade, the Bucks opened up a number of roster spots and now with Pat out, it just makes the holes even bigger.
It’s disappointing that this happened at this point in the season. But, we wish a speedy recovery for Pat Connaughton!
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