The long list of injuries holding back the Milwaukee Bucks shrunk by one Thursday as veteran center Zaza Pachulia went 5-on-5 and lasted a full practice for the first time this season.

Pachulia who had surgery on his right Achilles in April is hoping to play in a preseason game sometime next week. The Bucks wrap up their exhibition schedule with a game in Chicago on Monday a home game against the Knicks in Green Bay and the preseason finale Friday against Toronto in Milwaukee.

"That's huge" Bucks coach Larry Drew said of Pachulia's return. " … They are really just keeping an eye on how he is after these few days of practice to see if he checks out OK. If he's good he'll probably be able to play some limited minutes."

Pachulia's return is a welcome sight for a Bucks team who has been shorthanded at power forward and center. Injuries to starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova and reserve forward/center Ekpe Udoh left Drew to play camp invites Stephen Graham and Olek Czyz out of position. Even small forward Khris Middleton saw time at power forward after Larry Sanders fouled out against Memphis on Tuesday.

"I felt great" Pachulia said after practice. "I've been really working hard with the coaches and training staff to get to this point. I'm a basketball player so it's always good to play some real basketball.

"I'm glad it's still October and we're still in training camp mode. The goal is to keep getting better. I felt good enough today to play 5-on-5 but my goal every day is to get stronger get my timing back and get my game back."

While officially listed as probable for Monday's game against the Bulls Pachulia is approaching his return on a daily basis. He views Friday's practice as the next step in the process and will only move forward if things go well.

Drew doesn't plan to let up on Pachulia's time on the floor in practice knowing they have to see if he can handle the workload.