Milwaukee Bucks All-Star swingman Khris Middleton is not expected to play in the Eastern Conference semifinals, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
According to the report, Middleton’s left MCL injury is a Grade 2 sprain and it will keep him out of the lineup against the Boston Celtics. Game 1 of that series is on May 1 (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Additionally, Charania reports, Middleton’s injury may also keep him out of the East finals — provided the Bucks reach that round.
The left MCL injury of Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton is a Grade 2 sprain and he is expected to miss the entire second-round series vs. Celtics, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The recovery of Grade 2 MCL places a potential Conference Finals in jeopardy for him as well.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 28, 2022
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer offered no new details Friday on Khris Middleton’s potential availability for the matchup with the Celtics.
“There’s nothing new on his timeline,” Budenholzer said. “When we have something to update you with, we will. There’s nothing new.”
Middleton said earlier this week he hoped to be back in the lineup in two weeks as he attempted to recover from his left knee injury.
“They say two weeks,” Middleton said on April 22. “Hopefully, I’ll be ready or close to getting back on the court around then.”
The Bucks wrapped up a berth in the semifinals when they demolished the Chicago Bulls, 116-100, on Wednesday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds as Milwaukee wrapped up the series in Game 5.
Middleton suffered his injury in Game 2 of that series with 6:49 remaining in the game. His left leg gave out when he tried to plant on a spin move. The Bulls went on to win 114-110 behind DeMar DeRozan’s 41 points.
Losing Middleton is obviously a big blow for a team trying to become the first to repeat as champion since Golden State in 2017 and 2018. He averaged 20.1 points and made his third All-Star team this season.
In the East finals last year, Milwaukee overcame the loss of Antetokounmpo to a knee injury and won the final two games against Atlanta with Middleton leading the way. He scored 26 points in Game 5 and 32 in the series clincher.
Milwaukee then lost the first two games against Phoenix before winning the next four to capture its second championship and first since 1971.
Boston has been sizzling in the playoffs behind the play of its own All-Star, Jayson Tatum. Not having Middleton in the mix to both guard Tatum and give him someone to keep track of may give the Celtics an edge on the perimeter in the series.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.