It’s hard to think of any NBA player having as bad a beginning to a season as Larry Sanders

Sanders was averaging nearly a double-double last season. Now, he's on the sidelines for six weeks with a broken thumb from a bar fight

In his third NBA season, it appeared as if Milwaukee Bucks forward/center Larry Sanders had finally come into his own as a professional player. He was putting up around a double-double per game (9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds), making more than half of his field goal attempts (50.6 percent), and starting the fair share of Milwaukee's games.

Then the 2012-13 season ended and the 2013-14 one began.

First, he got into a bar fight at a Milwaukee nightclub, and even though no charges were filed against him, he reportedly injured his thumb in the incident. Next, he sat out a Bucks win over the Cleveland Cavaliers with a "sore thumb", which was interestingly chalked up to an injury Sanders suffered in a previous game, not at a bar.

Then, a few days ago, Sanders underwent surgery on the very right thumb he injured in the Milwaukee nightclub fight. The operation is expected to keep him off the court for at least six weeks, a recovery period that could be longer if not everything goes according to plan, which probably isn't too out of the realm of possibility for Sanders considering the way his season has gone so far.

Finally, news came out today that Sanders left his dogs outside in the freezing cold of a Milwaukee January without "shelter, food, or water."

Oh, and the VCU product and former first-round pick also called out head coach Larry Drew — who was hired this offseason — for a perceived lack of playing time in the waning moments of the Bucks' first three games. Not the best way to start off the first season of a lucrative four-year, $44 million contract extension.

Sanders has not played for the Bucks since a November 2nd loss to the Raptors, and will not be suiting up in awhile. It is what this weird season, only six games old, has come to for the Milwaukee big man. It went from one of promise and possible stardom to one of animal cruetly charges, fistfights, injuries, and inefficiency.

Sure, the 2013-14 season is still in its infancy, but when Sanders returns to action in late December or early January, it will be nearing the halfway point. The All-Star break will be right around the corner and the time for him to redeem himself on the court will be running out very fast, as Milwaukee probably will not be in playoff contention for much longer at this rate.

If the Bucks' first three games were indicative of Larry Drew's feelings about his squad, then Sanders already has one foot in the doghouse and might not even retain his starting spot when he gets healthy.

The clock is ticking for Larry Sanders, and will not stop anytime soon.

About Josh Burton

I'm a New York native who has been a Nets season ticket holder, in both New Jersey and now Brooklyn, since birth. Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism) '18