Stackhouse says he's ready to play

MILWAUKEE -- Jerry Stackhouse knows he'll play regular minutes for the first time in 14 months on Wednesday. He's a lot less certain about what he'll be able to accomplish with the Milwaukee Bucks.

"I don't know where I am, honestly," Stackhouse said Tuesday. "Not playing in over a year, I think your guess is about as good as mine. The thing about it is, I'm just happy to be back. I'm not trying to force the issue."

The veteran forward who has a career scoring average of 18.4 points impressed the Bucks in a workout in Houston and was signed for the rest of the year on Monday.

"I've been around, expecting a call to a team at this point," he said. "I got this call and I was ready to go."

Stackhouse was limited by injuries and only played 10 games last year in Dallas. He was traded to Memphis in the offseason and his contract was bought out, making him an unrestricted free agent.

"Last year was a tough year because I had the foot injury and pretty much missed a whole season," he said. "I knew I still had some gas in the tank and I wanted to try to get to a place to utilize my talent."

Stackhouse said he decided to take a different route than trying to catch on with a team close to winning an NBA title. He said he'll be more valuable trying to help the Bucks reach the postseason for the first time since 2006.

"Just having the time away from the game and letting the body heal up, I obviously feel like I've got pretty fresh legs right now. I don't know how long that's going to last -- maybe a week to 10 days," he said, joking. "The thing about it, I love to play. So, I'm going to pretty much get in shape by being in the games."

The Bucks hope he'll add toughness and leadership.

Stackhouse, who will start his 15th year in the league on Wednesday when the Bucks face the Toronto Raptors, was a teammate of coach Scott Skiles in Philadelphia and played under general manager John Hammond when they were in Detroit.

"It's a low risk move for us that we hope pays off," Skiles said. "One thing that Stack has always had is a level of toughness. He's not out there in the game to make friends.

"He's not one of those guys, you're not going to see him laughing a whole lot with guys on the other team and things like that. He's out there to compete."

Milwaukee (16-23) came into play Tuesday two games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

The Bucks just finished a 1-5 Western Conference trip where they dropped a pair of games in the closing seconds, lost Michael Redd for the season with a left knee injury and were without Skiles for a game because of an irregular heartbeat that sent him to the hospital.

Milwaukee has 12 games until the All-Star break and Skiles said it's imperative that his team at least split the upcoming games to stay in contention.

"We need to win our fair share of them, for sure. We'd like to play over .500 ball leading up to the break and see where that leads us," Skiles said. "There's some other teams making moves. At some point, we're going to have to make one."

Stackhouse said he'd had several previous offers, including chances to join Atlanta and Houston, but didn't feel either situation was right.

Stackhouse will make a prorated portion of the veteran's minimum, which is just over $1.3 million this season. He also received $2 million this summer when Memphis bought out his contract.

The 35-year-old Stackhouse said he looked at the roster and saw Brandon Jennings was born in September 1989, making the Bucks' rookie point guard just 5 when Stackhouse was drafted third overall in 1995.

"The last couple of teams I've been on, I've been the old man," Stackhouse said. "You have to accept that."