Mike Budenholzer under scrutiny over injury to Bucks guard
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is facing questions over his handling of an injury to one of his players.
During Saturday’s game against Sacramento, Bucks guard Wesley Matthews injured his knee while playing defense in the third quarter. Inexplicably, Budenholzer neither called timeout nor instructed his team to foul so that Matthews could get out of the game and be treated. Instead, Matthews got up and kept on playing despite clearly being in pain and limping.
Check out the unbelievable video, where Matthews played on for nearly 90 more seconds, spanning five trips up and down the floor.
Budenholzer did finally call a timeout after that, and Matthews was able to sub out. Not long after, Matthews was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and ruled out for the rest of the game.
Afterwards, Budenholzer admitted he should have called a timeout sooner.
Budenholzer, on not taking care of this situation sooner:
"It should have been a timeout by me. I thought it was going to be a thing where it might just wear off, but if I could go back and do it again, I'd call a quicker timeout." https://t.co/M2NVQWGrqW
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) January 23, 2022
On Monday, Budenholzer then told reporters that Matthews was not able to practice because of the knee injury and that Matthews had already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game against Cleveland. That led to further scrutiny of Budenholzer’s handling of the injury.
It is worth noting that Matthews has a reputation for his toughness and ability to fight through injury. But he also has a history of serious leg injuries, having ruptured his Achilles tendon back in 2015.
Perhaps Budenholzer did not want his team to foul since the Kings were in the bonus at the time and would have shot free throws. But there was no reason for Budenholzer not to call timeout when Milwaukee had the ball, especially when he had multiple opportunities to do so before his actual timeout. Budenholzer’s decision may or may not have affected the severity of Matthews’ injury. But it certainly cannot have helped matters.
While Budenholzer used to be one of the NBA’s most criticized coaches, the Bucks’ NBA title in 2021 banked a lot of goodwill for him. There may be no escaping the criticism for this Matthews situation however.
Photo: Mar 9, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports