Sunday update: Head coach Doc Rivers said there’s no timetable for Middleton’s return to the lineup, which is obviously not a good sign for the wing’s prognosis regarding his ankle sprain. Clearly, the Bucks won’t rush back an important player if he’s not ready but the team isn’t exactly in a position to give away too many games. Milwaukee is just 2.5 games out of being the No. 5 seed in the East, which would mean no homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Middleton has been huge for Milwaukee’s success and he needs to be healthy for them to win a title. The Bucks will take their time with him but no timeline for a return seems grim. Perhaps it’s just coach speak and Middleton comes back sooner rather than later.
Thursday update: Middleton remains out for Thursday’s game against the Timberwolves as he recovers from an ankle sprain. X-rays were negative on Middleton’s ankle, so the hope is there isn’t major structural damage.
Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Khris Middleton is out for the rest of Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to ankle sprain, according to the team. Middleton will finish the contest with six points, three rebounds and one assist.
Khris Middleton (left ankle sprain) will not return to tonight's game.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 7, 2024
This is a tough blow for the Bucks ahead of the trade deadline, especially since they were poised to be aggressive buyers. Middleton was unlikely to be on the chopping block in terms of an outgoing asset, but Milwaukee was in Dejounte Murray rumors and that isn’t a player who comes into the fold easily. There was always a possibility the Bucks would make Middleton part of a massive deal. That can still happen, although it seems less likely now.
With Middleton out for the rest of Tuesday’s game, look for Pat Connaughton and MarJon Beauchamp to see more playing time. Connaughton will likely get the first crack at starting should Middleton miss the team’s next game, although Beauchamp does offer more defensive versatility.
Middleton has been dealing with knee, back and hamstring injuries over the last two seasons. Milwaukee has tried to manage his workload, sitting him on back-to-backs and giving him less minutes. We’ll see how bad this ankle injury is, and what he has to do to get back from it.