Villanueva healthy

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

As far as Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva is concerned, his first season in Milwaukee did not count.

Villanueva was traded to Milwaukee from the Raptors in exchange for point guard T.J. Ford and cash on June 30, 2006, after experiencing a fine rookie season in Toronto.

However, his initial season in Milwaukee was marred by injuries, forcing him to miss 43 games.

Adding to the frustration was that Ford had a great first season in Toronto, averaging 14.0 points and 7.9 assists (sixth in the NBA).

But Villanueva said yesterday he is healthy now and ready to average a double-double this season.

"I consider this my first year in Milwaukee," Villanueva said. "Last year, once I went down with an elbow injury (Nov. 15), it was all over."

Jim Todd, a former Raptors assistant coach who is now in the same capacity with the Bucks, said the Milwaukee franchise is expecting better things from Villanueva, who averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 boards last year, even though he likely will be coming off the bench.

"He's probably not going to play the minutes that he was playing in Toronto (29.1), but if we could get a lot of production from that fourth spot between him and Yi Jianlian, that would help us," Todd said. "He's trying to do a better job on offensive rebounds, which he wasn't really focused on in the past. But he's not scoring at the rate that he used to in Toronto and we really need him to pick that up."

The knock in Toronto against Villanueva was that he often needed a fire lit under him just to get him worked up for games and practices, something Milwaukee head coach Larry Krystkowiak is reluctant to comment on.

"A lot of that stuff is going to stay (within our team)," Krystkowiak said.


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