6:55pm: The team confirmed Wojnarowski’s report in a press release, adding that Middleton will receive daily treatment and evaluation prior to the next status update in approximately two weeks.
5:35pm: Bucks All-Star wing Khris Middleton has an MCL sprain in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the first-round series against the Bulls, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks, Wojnarowski adds, and is sidelined indefinitely, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
Middleton’s injury could have a major impact on the outcome of the Eastern Conference playoffs and seriously jeopardizes Milwaukee’s chances of defending its crown.
Middleton suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Wednesday and underwent an MRI on Thursday.
“Obviously Khris is one of the best players on the team,” MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo said after the game. “If he’s not able to be with us, it going to be a tremendous loss for us.”
The third-seeded Bucks lost home-court advantage with their Game 2 loss and now must defeat the sixth-seeded Bulls three times without their second-best player in order to advance. Middleton was rather quiet in Game 1, contributing 11 points and eight assists while committing seven turnovers. He had 18 points and eight assists in 33 minutes during Game 2 before he was hurt.
Middleton played a monstrous role in last year’s playoffs, averaging 23.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG and 5.1 APG during Milwaukee’s 23-game run. Without him, the Bucks will have to squeeze more production out of Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton, while Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday must shoulder even more of the scoring and playmaking burden.
Milwaukee did have some positive news on the injury front. Bobby Portis, who sustained a right eye abrasion in the first quarter of Game 2 and didn’t return, is not on the Game 3 injury report, Jim Owczarski of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.