Bucks' Michael Redd works toward a return

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Bucks' Michael Redd works toward a return

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The sweat is pouring off the forehead of Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd like a leaky faucet . . . and he couldn't be any happier.

Missing 103 games (and counting) plus the playoffs a year ago will make any NBA player -- especially a former All-star -- eager to get back on the floor.

And when he returns, Redd is eager to show that the high-scoring shooting guard that used to be the face of the Fear the Deer movement is back which, truth be told, was very much in doubt.

Shortly after surgery to repair a second torn ACL and MCL injury to his left knee just a year apart from each other, Redd had a bunch of questions for the attending physicians.

There was just one that truly mattered.

"I asked them, 'Would I be able to come back and play my game?' " Redd recalled to CSNNE.com prior to Boston's 87-56 win over Milwaukee on Sunday. "That was a determining factor for me. If I wasn't going to be able to play my game, I don't know if I would have come back. The doctor said you should be able to do everything you did before the injury."

The first chance of that happening will be later this month.

Redd told CSNNE.com he's targeting March 20 against the New York Knicks or March 23 against the Sacramento Kings -- both home games for Milwaukee -- to make his return to the court.

The fact that Redd is even thinking about playing basketball still is amazing when you consider he has suffered a torn ACL and MCL injury in his left knee twice.

"I've had one torn ACL injury," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "That's all you need. You don't need more than one in your lifetime."

After the first one in 2009, Redd simply chalked it up as being one of those things.

But to suffer a second torn ACL and MCL injury a year later, had him asking a lot of questions that, truth be told, there are no answers forthcoming.

"The question did cross my mind, 'Why me?' " Redd said. "I worked so hard."

During those grueling rehabilitation sessions, Redd said one of the people that reached out to him was Grant Hill.

The two talked about Hill's struggles in Orlando with injuries that essentially kept Hill off the floor for three seasons, and how Hill turned that setback into the launching pad for what has been a solid NBA career since.

"I believe I'm going to help some young person whose dealing with injuries, come back," Redd said.

Returning to the basketball court would make Redd's story a successful one in itself.

But his goals are so much greater than that.

A former second round pick in the 2000 draft, Redd is a career 20.3 points per game scorer and a former All-Star (2004).

With Andrew Bogut established at center and Brandon Jennings emerging as one of the better point guards in the Eastern Conference, Redd returning to near All-Star form would bode well for the Bucks' chances of finishing the season strong and getting into the playoffs.

But Redd is smart enough to know that he's not going to immediately return and play at the same level he did prior to the second left knee injury.

"You gotta get a rhythm," he said. "Hopefully I can find my rhythm quicker than normal. I'm just glad to be back. But the goal for me is not to just come back and play, but to be an elite player once again; back to where I was."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Isaiah Thomas still unsure whether hip will require surgery

Isaiah Thomas still unsure whether hip will require surgery

WALTHAM, Mass. –  Isaiah Thomas said it will be at least another month before he and the Boston Celtics will know for sure if he’ll need surgery on his right hip or an alternative means of treatment.

“Take it day by day and whatever happens in the next four to six weeks, then go from there and attack that as is,” Thomas said on Friday.

Thomas took a hard spill on his right hip against Minnesota on March 15, and re-aggravated the injury during Boston’s second-round series against Washington. The Celtics’ medical staff treated the injury for several weeks, but the pain began to increase and the potential risk of it becoming a long-term problem only grew.

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In the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to Cleveland in the conference finals, the hip began to severely limit his play which was evident by him scoring two points in the first half of that game while missing all six of his shots from the field.

The Celtics medical team examined him at halftime and determined that in the best interest of his long-term health, he had to be shut down for the rest of the playoffs.

Needless to say, that did not go over well with Thomas.

“They had multiple people come in and talk to me about what’s more important,” Thomas recalled. “I definitely wasn’t trying to hear that at that point in time.”

Not only because of his competitive nature, but also because the Celtics were in the Conference finals for the first time since 2012.

“Conference finals, that’s the biggest stage I’ve ever been on,” Thomas said. “To not be able to go back out there in the second half … was painful; it hurt me.”

Now Thomas finds himself having to be patient and allow his body to heal up, realizing the big picture – his future – has to take precedence over what he’s accustomed to this time of year which is to take a couple weeks off and get right back in the gym to start working on his game and prepping for next season.

Not only is this a big summer in terms of him getting his body right, but he’s also eligible for a contract extension.

When asked about an extension, Thomas quipped, “That means more money? I’d love that.”

He added, “if it don’t happen, I'm the last person to be bothered by that. I know everything happens for a reason. So when my time comes, I know … God will bless me.”

The two-time all-star will earn just $6.26 million in the final year of the four-year, $27 million deal he signed in 2014 with Phoenix.

While being hurt isn’t ideal when talks center around an extension, Thomas isn’t overly concerned about his contract status and whether or not it changes this summer.

“That time will come. Whatever happens, happens,” Thomas said. “I’ve proved myself. The world knows what I bring to the table. I can’t do anything to control anything else. Whatever happens this summer with contracts, it happens. If not, we’ll wait until next summer and see where we go.”

While his contract status may be unclear, there’s no mistaking that Thomas wants to stay in Boston long-term.

“Boston has changed my career, changed my life,” said Thomas who came to Boston via trade in February of 2015. “I’d love to be here long-term and win championships here. As you guys know it’s a business; anything can happen. And I know that, I understand that. I would love to be here. This has been everything to me.”