The Suns and Bucks entered the playoffs as NBA Finals favorites.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton left last night’s game vs. Chicago in the fourth period with a left knee injury. Middleton underwent an MRI and subsequent examination today by team physician Dr. William Raasch of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network, which confirmed the diagnosis of a sprained left MCL. Middleton will receive daily treatment and evaluation with the next status update coming in approximately two weeks.
Dario Melendez of WISN:
— Dario Melendez (@Dario_Melendez) April 21, 2022
This is a big loss for Milwaukee.
Middleton can create his own shot in the mid-range with the ball and spaces the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo off the ball. Middleton’s sound defense ensured opponents couldn’t pick on him. Sometimes, he dialed up even better defense.
In other words, he’s an excellent fit for playoff basketball.
The exact timing of his absence could be critical. Though the Bulls have made it tough on them, the Bucks should still advance from the 1-1 first-round series. Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and co. look better on paper than a Chicago squad that stumbled into the playoffs. But there’d be far less margin for error in the second round against the Celtics-Nets winner.
That said, nothing can be taken for granted against the Bulls. This absence will be felt immediately.
Milwaukee is already shorthanded on the perimeter with George Hill sidelined. Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton could play more three in smaller lineups. As a result, Jevon Carter might play more at guard.