MILWAUKEE (AP) – Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut will likely miss the beginning of the season with a lower left leg sprain that is expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks.

Bogut was helped off the court during a team scrimmage on Saturday after banging his leg into Steve Blake’s knee. He did not return to the scrimmage.

Bucks coach Terry Stotts initially said the injury was not serious. But the No. 1 pick in last year’s NBA draft was evaluated by team doctor John Heinrich on Sunday and will undergo rehabilitation for the injury.

Bucks general manager Larry Harris said Monday that injuries such as Bogut’s happen in practice all the time but usually don’t turn out to be serious.

“Obviously, he’s disappointed he’s not going to be playing,” Harris said. “It’s just an unfortunate situation.”

Harris said he is comfortable with the team’s depth at center, and Bogut’s injury will allow players such as Dan Gadzuric and Brian Skinner to get more playing time in the preseason and the first few weeks of the regular season.

But the injury will make it harder for Bogut to quickly establish chemistry with forward Charlie Villanueva, the Bucks’ major offseason acquisition, Harris said.

Bogut, who grew up in Australia and was the national collegiate player of the year at Utah, averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds as a rookie last season.

The team didn’t ask Bogut to add muscle or make any other major changes in the offseason beyond staying healthy and in shape, Harris said. Bogut spent the offseason playing for the Australian national team, working on his skills and his conditioning.

“He was in great shape,” Harris said. “The thing is, his spirits were very high. He was looking forward to the season.”

The team was hoping Bogut would expand his role in the offense this season, taking more of the perimeter jump shots that were a major part of his game in college.

Harris said Bogut appeared to lose confidence in his outside shot as a rookie last season but regained it during the offseason.

“That was coming along,” Harris said. “That was back. He did a lot of that when he was playing for Australia in the offseason.”

AP-ES-10-09-06 1841EDT

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