Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd will require surgery due to a deteriorating hip condition and will be out indefinitely, according to a report from ESPN. Veteran assistant coach Joe Prunty will take over head-coaching duties on an interim basis until Kidd is able to return. Prunty served as the Bucks’ head coach once before this season, a loss to the Orlando Magic, as Kidd served a suspension. The team announced an indefinite leave but are hopeful that the coach will return to the sidelines in a timeline of four to six weeks. That time frame puts Kidd back on the Bucks’ bench sometime in February.
In an interview with Bucks TV, Kidd said he’s been dealing with pain in his right hip for some time, and that this has become not only the best option but the only option.
“It’s been chronic for the last three to four years, since I was in Dallas the last time. The pain has been to the point where I can’t function. I’ve taken all the medicine I can do. Talking to the doctors, there’s really no good time to do the surgery. I have to fix myself, and then we move on and get back to work.”
Jason Kidd is in his second season at the helm for the Bucks, which has been a disappointing campaign for Milwaukee. The team is on the outside of the playoff hunt with an 11-18 record, third worst in the Eastern Conference, and find themselves scoring just 96.0 points per game, fourth-worst in the NBA. Many believed the upstart Bucks would be building off a surprising 41-41 season a year ago that saw them finish as the sixth seed in the East, a playoff appearance, and an eventual first-round exit at the hands of the Chicago Bulls in six games. Jabari Parker returned from an injury that sidelined the former number two overall pick for the majority of last season, and the Bucks added prized free agent Greg Monroe in free agency to a young nucleus featuring Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
One of the few bright spots for Kidd and company came on December 12 when the Bucks became the first team to defeat the Golden State Warriors this season, a 108-95 win that capped off Golden State’s seven-game road trip. The Bucks nearly repeated the feat last Friday, but the Warriors avenged the loss in thrilling comeback fashion, leaving them with just the one blemish on the season.
Jason Kidd’s 19-year playing career is the third-longest in NBA history, one that featured 10 All-Star appearances and a championship in 2011. He became just the third person to take a head coaching position the year following his retirement when he was hired by the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. The Nets won 44 games that year and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. He became the first coach in league history to win a Game 7 of a playoff series on the road when Brooklyn eliminated the Toronto Raptors.
Kidd’s tenure in Brooklyn ended just a year later when the Bucks acquired him for two future second-round draft picks, becoming the second coach in as many years to be traded for draft selections. The Los Angeles Clippers acquired Doc Rivers in a similar fashion. Kidd finished third in voting for the Coach of the Year award behind Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Steve Kerr of the Warriors. In the immediate future, interim coach Joe Prunty will lead the Bucks against the lowly 76ers followed by a home date against Toronto the day after Christmas. They’ll close out the calendar year on the road with visits to Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Indiana.
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