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Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton to return to lineup on Wednesday

Shaun Powell

Shaun Powell

Help is on the way for the Milwaukee Bucks, who could certainly use a bit of it.

On Friday, Khris Middleton told Fox Sports Wisconsin he’ll make his season debut Wednesday against the Heat. He hasn’t played since tearing a hamstring in September. That’s good news for the Bucks, who despite the breakout season by Giannis Antetekounmpo are six games under .500 and currently out of the playoff picture in the East.

It can be argued that, while Antetekounmpo has established himself as the cornerstone of the franchise and an All-Star for the first time this season, Middleton was the Bucks’ best player last season. He brings scoring punch and big-shot capability to the rotation and demands respect from the defense. Middleton averaged 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds last year.

He suffered his injury during pre-training camp workouts and initial projections had him requiring six months of recovery. If Middleton does return next week, it would be a month earlier than anticipated. He has participated in drills lately and has experienced no setbacks.

Other than Antetekounmpo (23.1 points) and Jabari Parker (21 points), the Bucks have struggled to find consistent scoring from another player. Malcolm Brogdan, the rookie surprise from Virginia, and recent acquisition Tony Snell have helped at the big guard spot, though neither are on Middleton’s level as a scorer.

Middleton, 25, can give the Bucks a three-man core that will force teams to re-think their defensive strategy. Whether he gives the Bucks a lift in the standings is less certain; they missed the playoffs the last season when he was healthy.

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