John Salmons takes important step

St. Francis - The injury news in Bucks camp has centered on Andrew Bogut, who returned to the floor against Minnesota on Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D., his first NBA game since April.

Next up is shooting guard John Salmons, who took part in practice Tuesday for the first time since camp opened in late September. Salmons did some running and participated in the non-contact portions of the practice session.

"He ran hard yesterday (Monday) and shot a couple hundred shots," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of Salmons, who played a crucial role in the Bucks playoff drive last season. "He's getting close."

Salmons suffered a sprained right knee before camp opened, when he was playing a pickup game in his hometown of Philadelphia.

"I did some running and a little bit of shooting," Salmons said of his activity Tuesday. "Not a whole lot of cutting yet. Maybe do some of that tomorrow and just go from there.

"Just go day-by-day and see if the swelling goes down. It's feeling pretty good right now."

Skiles said he felt Salmons would be able to start in the regular-season opener in New Orleans on Oct. 27, barring any setbacks in the next week.

"We want John to be healthy and playing," Skiles said. "I would anticipate by then he'll be ready to play and be fine.

"It's just a question can he get any exhibition minutes and how much practice time he has leading up to that game."

Salmons said he hopes to be able to play in the Bucks' exhibition finale Friday night against Minnesota at the Bradley Center.

"The next one (Thursday against Cleveland in Columbus) might be far-fetched, but we'll see what happens Friday," Salmons said.
Asked about playing in New Orleans, Salmons said, "Yeah, I'm very confident."

Bogut said he was glad to have Salmons back on the practice floor.

"It's great to see him running," Bogut said. "He's an integral part of our scoring system, especially last year when we had lapses scoring the ball. He would come in and knock down shots for us."

Skiles also said forward Corey Maggette took part in nearly the entire practice. Skiles did not speculate on whether Maggette, recovering from off-season ankle surgery, would play in one of the two remaining exhibition games.

"He went through quite a bit of it and he's getting closer as well," Skiles said.

Forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (right ankle) and center Jon Brockman (left ankle) remained out of practice, Skiles said. But both players indicated they were making progress and hoped to return soon.

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