SAN ANTONIO -- It was another episode of "How the Bucks Backcourt Turns" with a few new plot twists Sunday night at the AT&T Center.
Three prime characters took leading roles in the drama, which played out in Milwaukee's 110-82 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
First, veteran guard Luke Ridnour sprained his right wrist late in the first quarter when he got tangled up while dribbling between teammate Ekpe Udoh and Spurs guard Patty Mills.
Ridnour was not able to return and although initial X-rays were negative, he is expected to undergo an MRI exam Monday.
Another intriguing twist involved the return to the lineup of guard Gary Neal, who had not played in the previous five games following a locker room dustup with center Larry Sanders in Phoenix on Jan. 4.
But Neal returned against his former team and played 18 minutes, hitting 1 of 8 shots and ending with three points and three assists.
The third development was a Nate Wolters sighting as the Bucks rookie point guard played the entire fourth quarter after riding the bench in recent weeks.
And the former South Dakota State star took advantage even though the Bucks were trailing by 24 points when he entered the game. He finished with nine points and three assists while attacking aggressively.
Bucks coach Larry Drew made it clear he has not forgotten about Wolters, acquired by the Bucks in a draft-night trade after he was selected 38th overall.
"He will wait his turn; he's not a complainer," Drew said. "When his number is called, he will do what he did tonight. He steps in and plays a solid quarter of basketball.
"He's a part of our future, no doubt. He'll continue to improve, particularly on his shot. He's as good as they are as far as getting into that paint and finishing.
"He has a really nice in-between game."
Wolters was just glad to be back on the court after not playing due to coach's decision in six of the last nine games.
"I was a little winded," Wolters said of losing his game shape. "They were kind of staying back on pick-and-rolls so it kind of freed up that midrange area.
"It was definitely good. There's nothing like being in the game."
Neal said he wanted to have an impact on the game "but unfortunately today I wasn't able to have one."
His former Spurs teammates made sure of that as they handed the Bucks (7-33) their ninth straight defeat behind reserve guard Patty Mills (20 points, 8-of-12 shooting) and power forward Tim Duncan (11 points, 13 rebounds).
Seven Spurs players scored in double figures. Big man Jeff Ayres had 13 points in just 15 minutes. Mills and Manu Ginobili each had seven assists and the Spurs had a commanding 55-37 rebounding advantage.
It was no surprise to Neal, who played the last three seasons with San Antonio and was a key player off the bench.
"It's a strange feeling," Neal said. "Sometimes it's different when guys come back to their old teams and maybe they left bad, but it's even worse when you get along with everybody.
"You see Tim and I talked to Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) before the game, and it makes it harder. I wish those guys nothing but the best and continued success, and I'll just keep chugging along doing what I do."
It's unclear how long Ridnour will be sidelined, but he immediately pointed to the bench and asked to come out after injuring his hand.
"I saw him at halftime; it was pretty swollen," Drew said. "Right now it looks like he's in a splint and I don't know how long he will be out.
"That's how we've been doing it all year. We get some injuries and we'll just have to slide some guys in. Hopefully the injury is not that serious and he won't be out a long time."
Ridnour has started eight of the last 10 games and in the previous two games he had played 73 minutes against Memphis and Houston.
Point guard Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 21 points despite not playing in the fourth quarter, and O.J. Mayo went scoreless in 19 minutes.
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