Originally written December 13, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
MILWAUKEE Tobias Harris couldn't remember if he had ever gotten a technical foul before in his basketball career. The mild-mannered, soft-spoken Bucks small forward had to have been awfully mad to get one Wednesday night. Harris drove to the hoop late in the second quarter of Wednesday's victory against Sacramento and appeared to have been hit by Kings guard Francisco Garcia. No foul was called, and official Ken Mauer quickly gave Harris a technical. As it turns out, the contact caused some damage. The wound required four stiches and the laceration on Harris' right elbow will keep the 20-year-old out of action for 7-10 days. Going from starting to playing a total of just 10 minutes in December, Harris got an opportunity for more playing time Wednesday because the Bucks have been hit hard by injuries and illness. Along with Harris, small forward Mike Dunleavy and point guard Beno Udrih did not travel with the team to Cleveland for Friday's game. Udrih, who has missed six games with a sprained right ankle, was originally expected to miss one to two weeks, but Friday will mark the two-week point since the injury occurred in Minnesota. No longer on crutches, Udrih is recovering but needs more time. The rehab process has been equally slow for Dunleavy. Also injured against the Timberwolves, Dunleavy has missed five of Milwaukee's last six games with a bone bruise in his left knee. "There's just a couple of movements that are really sore (for him still)," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "He keeps trying to go every day, but every day it's not ready yet. I know they are talking about a strategy to try and get him back, I'm not sure the conclusion that they've come to." Because of his style of play, full health in the knee is crucial. "Mike is a movement player," Skiles said. "He's a cutting and moving around the floor player and when he does the movement you can see him grimace. There's a certain movement that causes some pretty significant pain there. You don't want him out there and then something worse happens." The starting interior duo of Ekpe Udoh (sprained wrist) and Larry Sanders (illness) also missed Wednesday's game. Udoh did travel with the team to Cleveland but is questionable. Sanders is probable to play against the Cavaliers. Rookie guard Doron Lamb also caught a bug and didn't head to Cleveland with the rest of the team Thursday. Instead, Lamb is expected to join the team Friday for the game. If Lamb is unable to play, the Bucks will be very thin at guard. With Marquis Daniels starting at the small forward position and Udrih out, Lamb was the only guard off the bench for the Bucks behind starters Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Keeping mom happy: Harris was upset after getting a technical foul, saying it will be his first and last in the NBA. However, he was worried somebody else wasn't going to be too thrilled. "Now I'll probably get a fine," Harris said. "My mother is going to be pretty (angry)." Making his mark: Bucks forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute made his first start of the season Wednesday in place of the injured Udoh. Since returning from offseason knee surgery on Dec. 1, Mbah a Moute is averaging 10.0 points and 5.3 rebounds, including scoring 17 points with six rebounds Wednesday against the Kings. Though he's played well, he still isn't 100 percent. "Still working to get there," Mbah a Moute said. "Still sore and not in shape, it's getting better now, hopefully." Because of injury, Skiles started the fifth-year forward at power forward. Though he's played 28 and 26 minutes in Milwaukee's last two games, Skiles still is watching for signs of fatigue. "It's just that there's a point where he's obviously fatigued and then we get him out as quick as we can at that point," Skiles said. "For the first game, it was about four or five minutes and it was much longer the other night. "He's getting close to not even having to be concerned about it, I think. Still, with that type of injury, you don't want to have a guy out there that's obviously gassed and then something bad happens." Hitting the glass: The Bucks have been an average rebounding team for most of the season, but they've picked it up in December. In the current month, Milwaukee is fourth in the Eastern Conference in total rebounds and third in the NBA in offensive rebounds. Even without Sanders and Udoh, the Bucks grabbed 60 rebounds Thursday night, their most in a game since February 2010. Included in that effort was 24 offensive rebounds, and though Milwaukee didn't convert on as many second chances as Skiles would have liked, it was enough to help it win the game. Ersan Ilyasova had 14 rebounds, Drew Gooden had 10, Samuel Dalembert had nine and Ellis added eight. "That's just want to," Gooden said. "That's just guys going after it and having the passion to go get that ball. That's a plus to have 24 offensive rebounds in one game." All-Star voting: The NBA released its first All-Star balloting results Thursday, and both Ellis and Jennings are among the top 10 in the Eastern Conference backcourt. Ellis is in sixth place with 47,650 votes, and Jennings is ninth with 35,610. Neither player has ever played in an All-Star Game. Miami's Dwyane Wade leads Eastern Conference guards with 430,925 votes. The rest of the top five includes Boston's Rajon Rondo, Brooklyn's Deron Williams, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving and Miami's Ray Allen. Ellis is in a distant sixth place, 82,366 votes behind Allen in fifth place. Fans have until Jan. 14 to vote for this year's starters. Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.
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