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Bucks G Redd says he's near return

Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd participated in practice Tuesday and is planning to play Friday in New York after missing the last 14 months following knee surgery.

"It was fun," Redd said of his first five-on-five practice since the injury. "I've got to get into the rhythm of playing basketball. This is my training camp right here."

Redd says he feels good, but will not play in Milwaukee's game on Wednesday night against Sacramento. Redd took the team's last road trip and mimicked the routine of the NBA travel schedule, working out in the morning and again at night while the team played.

Coach Scott Skiles said Redd is in excellent condition. Redd tore ligaments in the same left knee each of the previous two seasons, most recently in January 2010 after just 18 games back from the first injury.

"You can't tell he's missed any time in all in regard to his conditioning because during his rehab process he's done a lot of working out," Skiles said. "It's just a matter of him getting his timing back, things like that, relearning the things we're trying to do."

Redd says he lost 25 pounds during his rehabilitation and is still working on his timing and jump shot.

His return is coming at a key point late in the season for both the team and his career after spending a franchise-record 11 years with the Bucks.

Entering Tuesday's games, Milwaukee is two games behind Indiana for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs while Redd is in the final year of a maximum contract and needs time on the court to show he's fully recovered from both injuries when he enters free agency.

"We're excited to be playing for something at the end of the season. We're right there in the playoff hunt, trying to do our best to get some wins," said Redd, who has no expectations on how many minutes he may play. "I just want to do my part to help the team win."

Milwaukee also hopes that forward Drew Gooden (left foot plantar fasciitis) returns in the coming days. He practiced Tuesday for the first time since the team announced Feb. 2 he'd miss four to six weeks. Gooden has missed a total of 43 games in his first year with the Bucks because of the injury.

"He obviously had a bottom of the foot injury," Skiles said. "He's got some conditioning things he's got to get through."