Newcomer Patterson likely to start Bucks' opener

MILWAUKEE -- Ruben Patterson likely will start at small forward as Milwaukee opens its regular season next Wednesday in Detroit.

Patterson started in 22 of the 71 games he played for Denver last season. The Nuggets traded him to Milwaukee in August.

The Bucks' Bobby Simmons is out for an undetermined amount of time with a heel injury, and Milwaukee needs someone to fill the void in its starting lineup.

Bucks coach Terry Stotts says he expects Patterson to start since Simmons is out -- and he's had a lot of chances to see Patterson play.

Patterson has started in five of the Bucks' six preseason games at small forward, but he has been bothered by an elbow injury and won't play in the team's final two preseason games.