The Milwaukee Bucks have had pretty good luck on the injury front dating back to last season. However, one of their best players suffered a knock on Sunday evening. Midway through the third quarter of the Bucks’ matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Khris Middleton took a knee straight to his thigh, which sent him to the locker room and eventually to the bench for the rest of the night.
Initially, it didn’t seem like that serious of an injury, but according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Middleton will miss 3-4 weeks. The good news is no serious damage to his leg is being reported.
Curling up to the top of the key in the third quarter on Sunday, Middleton took a pass from Giannis Antetokounmpo, then tried to drive right off a screen from Brook Lopez. As he did so, he was cut off by Terrance Ferguson, whose knee drilled into Middleton’s thigh. Ferguson was called for a blocking foul, and Middleton immediately came up limping. He stayed in the game to shoot his free throws, but wasn’t able to run it off. On the next possession, the Bucks took a foul, and Middleton subbed out, hobbling straight back to the locker room.
A short time later returned to the bench to sit with his teammates, but the Bucks announced he would be out for the remainder of the game with a thigh contusion.
That doesn’t sound all that serious, but knocks like that can linger for a while, and it appears the Bucks are playing it safe by keeping Middleton out until he’s fully healthy. That’s the smart long-term decision, but his absence will be notable in the short-term.
He’s always had a bit of a strange reputation, especially in Milwaukee, but make no mistake about it, Middleton is as solid as they come. He may not be a flashy second star next to Giannis, but he was putting up 18.5 points 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season, while 39.3 percent shooting from 3 and providing versatility on the defensive end. Even for a team that’s deep on the wing, there’s no way the Bucks can replace that kind of production.
One bit of good news for the Bucks is that their schedule over the next month is pretty weak. Through the first week of December, they play the Bulls twice, the Hawks twice, the Pistons twice, the Cavaliers, Hornets and Knicks. And even their matchup with the Trail Blazers isn’t looking as tough as it did heading into the season.
During that stretch, the only teams they play with a winning record are the Pacers, Jazz and Clippers and the latter two of those matchups are at home. If there was any stretch of the season they could survive without one of their stars, this would be it.