Middleton injury update & potential return date

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“MIlwaukee Bucks, 2021 NBA Champions” flickr photo by Chad Davis. https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/51326141624 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Khris Middleton‘s injury news was a massive blow for the Milwaukee Bucks. Mike Budenholzer’s team lost way more than Game 2 and homecourt advantage, as they’ll now travel to the Windy City without their second-best player.

The Chicago Bulls bounced back in a big way from their Game 1 loss. They played slightly better defense and limited the Bucks to 46% shooting and 38% from the floor, forcing 15 turnovers and turning them into 19 points. Billy Donovan‘s team led by as many as 19 points despite not having Lonzo Ball.

The Bucks were favored by 10 points according to most sportsbooks, yet they trailed during most of the game. They could never find their offensive groove. And to make things even worse, Khris Middleton is looking at a spell on the sidelines.

Khris Middleton injury news & update

Middleton was forced to leave the game with little under 6 minutes left to play. He scored 18 points with 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and five three-pointers on 6/11 from the floor before leaving with an apparent knee injury.

Now, reports have confirmed that the G-League alumni suffered an MCL tear, meaning he’s due to miss several weeks for the reigning champions. All eyes will be on Middleton injury news in the coming weeks.

How long will Middleton be out?

According to UCSF Health, Middleton’s return date will depend on the severity of the injury:

  • A grade 1 (minor) MCL tear can take from a few days to a week and a half to heal enough for a return to normal activities, including sports.
  • A grade 2 tear can take from two to four weeks to heal.
  • A grade 3 tear usually takes four to eight weeks to heal, unless the ACL is also damaged, in which case recovery may take longer.

The Bucks are scheduled to play two games in Chicago on Friday 22 and Sunday 24, and he is ruled out for both contests. They travel back home for Game 5 on Wednesday 27, which could have been Middleton’s return date if his injury was minor.

The first-round series with the Bulls will run through Sunday, May 1, so a grade 2 tear would also rule him out for a hypothetical Game 7 and the start of a potential second-round series. He could be back further in the playoffs.


An underrated star

Needless to say, Khris Middleton’s injury was a massive blow for the Bucks’ title chances. He’s their second-best player, a versatile defender who can guard multiple positions, and the best three-point shooter on the team.

This season, Middleton averages 20.1 points, 5.4 points, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.5 three-pointers per game on 44/37/89 shooting splits. With him on the court, the Bucks have an offensive rating of 102.

Moreover, stopping the Bulls’ one-two punch of Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan will be a tougher task now, as Giannis Antetokounmpo will have to leave Nikola Vucevic to handle the perimeter, and we’ve seen how much of a scoring threat Vooch can be when he’s locked in.

The Bulls’ poor defense and lack of playmaking have hurt them since Lonzo Ball fell with an injury but they already showed that they can go to battle with the reigning champions on any given night. And not having Middleton on the court all but guarantees that Billy Donovan’s team will take at least another game in this series.

Giannis will have to be even better and more productive without his wingman, and enduring that physical burden could be costly going forward. Hopefully, Middleton’s injury will be back on the court sooner rather than later.

The Bucks are +390 to win the Eastern Conference — bet on them here