We all knew it would be tough for the Milwaukee Bucks to repeat this year, even at full strength, but now they just got dealt another blow to those hopes as it appears Khris Middleton’s MCL injury is severe enough he will miss the entire Boston Celtics series.
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
The Cleveland Clinic lists grade 2 MCL sprains as a recovery time anywhere from four to six weeks, which is just the bummer of all bummers for a guy who was so instrumental to the Bucks championship run last year. The schedule for round two features three days off between Games Two and Three, giving us some hope Middleton may have been able to target that first home game as his return. Instead, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and their band of Bucks bombers will have to try and traverse this lockdown Celtics defense without their finest shotmaker.
When Durant sprained his MCL earlier this season I looked in my database and discovered the average lost time for confirmed G1 MCL sprains is ~17 days (~8.5 games). Grade 2 sprains (partial tears) result in an average of ~41 days lost (~21 games). KD missed 21 games.— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) April 21, 2022
It’s not just that Middleton can create competent shots from nothing when the offense stalls out, but he also gives them another creator in the pick-and-roll (when he’s not turning it over) and most importantly, a big wing body that could’ve matched up with the Celtics duo of Tatum, Brown and their other fleet of rangy players. They came into the year a bit wing-deficient with no PJ Tucker and after the signings of Semi Ojeleye and Rodney Hood flamed out. Now, the cupboard is even more bare for Mike Budenholzer. It also makes the status of George Hill more important for this next round to give them another ballhandler and some length defensively.
The best news for the Bucks is they still have the best player in the world in Giannis Antetokounmpo. This will be a monumental task ahead of him, and he’ll have to go about it without his longtime running mate. Get well soon Khris.