One of the Milwaukee Bucks' walking wounded was back on the practice court Thursday. Veteran center Zaza Pachulia returned for his first full practice with the Bucks since signing a three-year $15 million free-agent deal during the past summer. The big man's presence was a beautiful sight for Bucks coach Larry Drew who knows Pachulia well after serving as his head coach the past three seasons in Atlanta. "That's huge to get him out there" Drew said. "They want to see how he is after these first few days of practice see if he checks out OK. "If he's good then he's probably going to be able to play some limited minutes." Pachulia could play in a preseason game as soon as Monday when the Bucks face the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Milwaukee concludes exhibition play vs. New York on Wednesday in Ashwaubenon and against Toronto on Oct. 25 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in the annual MACC Fund Game. "He moved around very well today" Drew said. "That's a very very good sign." The 29-year-old Pachulia suffered a right Achilles injury with Atlanta last season and had surgery in early April forcing him to miss the playoffs. He is expected to be the primary backup for fourth-year pro Larry Sanders and provide a physical presence when the Bucks match up with some of the bigger centers in the league. "He knows my stuff" Drew said. "Zaza is a smart player. He does a lot of the little things a lot of the intangibles you need out of a player. "When we go back and look at film and see why a guy got open it's because he set a good screen things like that. Hopefully we can get him back into a rhythm of playing again." Pachulia was a fan favorite in Atlanta for his hustling play and his willingness to battle such opposing stars as Kevin Garnett then with Boston. And Hawks fans remember how he stepped in when Hawks big man Al Horford was injured two years ago. Pachulia started 44 games that season and averaged 7.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. The 6-foot-11 player from the Eastern European nation of Georgia was in Milwaukee as a young player in just his second year in the league in 2004-'05. But he has gained plenty of experience since then in eight years with the Hawks.
Zaza Pachulia's return a beautiful sight for Larry Drew
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Oct 18