The Milwaukee Bucks will begin the NBA's restarted season in central Florida without guards Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton, head coach Mike Budenholzer said Thursday.
Bledsoe and Connaughton will both sit out against the Boston Celtics on Friday, while their status for Sunday's game against Houston is unknown.
Both are working into shape after arriving late at the NBA bubble, following positive tests for COVID-19. Both practiced on Thursday, but neither took part in any of the Bucks' three exhibition games.
"Everybody else is getting ready to play in a live game and have had 10 to 12 to 14 days of probably 5-on-5 every other day and individual work and all that," Budenholzer said. "So I think giving Bled and Pat a couple of 5-on-5 sessions at a minimum and getting some 3-on-3 in other situations or days.
"They just need to play, so I think that's a big hurdle, and with playing will come both conditioning and their rhythm, so we're going to make sure they get some of that before we put them in an NBA game."
Bledsoe, 30, averaged 15.4 points, 5.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 56 games before the regular season was paused. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive team in 2018-19.
Connaughton, 27, averaged 5.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game in 61 appearances (one start) before the pause.
The Bucks, 53-12, have the NBA's best record heading into the eight-game conclusion of the regular season.
--Field Level Media