CELTICS AT BUCKS, 8 P.M. ET

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  • Bucks center Larry Sanders will be out until at least after the all-star break — and possibly much longer — after it was learned he has an orbital fracture of his right eye. The injury occurred with 7:37 left in the first quarter of Saturday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets as Sanders and James Harden battled for a rebound. The injury continues a season where Sanders just can’t seem to build any momentum. He missed just under two months following thumb surgery in early November and had just started to get a rhythm. He posted a career-high 25 points and a season-high 15 rebounds last Wednesday at Denver, then got injured early in the Saturday’s game. “It’s really unfortunate because the kid had been playing well,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. “He was starting to play with a rhythm, and he had played two of his better games of the year.” Drew said Sanders was still experiencing double-vision Monday morning. Veteran Zaza Pachulia will start in Sanders’ place.
  • The Celtics will be shorthanded at guard with both Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo out. Bradley has a sore right ankle and he will have an MRI on Tuesday morning. Rondo, who debuted this season Jan. 17 from an torn anterior cruciate ligament, is not playing the second night of back-to-back games. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that Rondo would be to playing in back-to-backs “very soon. We are still within a month of his return, so once we get outside that month, possibly on he west-coast road trip, you could see him playing in back-to-back games once again.” The Celtics will start Phil Pressey and Gerald Wallace at guard, with Jeff Green and Brandon Bass at forward and Jared Sullinger — the Eastern Conference Player of the Week — at center. Center Vitor Faverani (sore left knee) also did not make the trip. Stevens said he would be evaluated again before Wednesday’s home game vs. San Antonio.
  • With just nine victories in their first 50 games, the Bucks are looking to beat the Celtics for the third time this season. Milwaukee beat Boston on Nov. 1, lost its next 11 games and then ended the skid with a victory over the Celtics on Nov. 30. Stevens said his team can’t worry about such matters. “Our mentality has to be about us and continuing to improve and play the way we want to play,” Stevens said. “I thought we played really well last week and won three games and then played good at times last night but couldn’t overcome our lack of shooting.”
  • Forward Ekpe Udoh (ankle) and guard Luke Ridnour (back spasms) will return to action for the Bucks. Udoh missed the previous eight games, while Ridnour left the Denver game last Wednesday early and then sat out Saturday’s game against Houston. Guard O.J. Mayo (illness/conditioning), forwards Ersan Ilyasova (back) and Caron Butler (ankle) remain out.

Rick Braun

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