MILWAUKEE (AP)Khris Middleton will miss at least the Milwaukee Bucks’ next game with a sprained medial collateral ligament after getting hurt in the fourth quarter of their Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The Bucks announced Thursday that the three-time All-Star wouldn’t be available for Game 3 of the first-round playoff series Friday night in Chicago.
Exactly how much time Middleton will missremains uncertain. As the defending champion Bucks spoke after the game Wednesday night they braced for the possibility they could be missing Middleton for a significant time.
”You feel for him,” Bucks guard Wesley Matthews said. ”Khris is a huge part of this team, this organization, this city.”
Middleton headed into the locker room with 6:49 left in the Bucks’ 114-110 loss.His left leg gave out while he tried to plant on a spin move.
The Bucks’ injury report for the game Friday doesn’t include forward Bobby Portis,an indication he should be available to play after missing most of Game 2 with a right eye abrasion. Portis took a hit to the face from Chicago’s Tristan Thompson late in the first quarter as both players were going after a rebound.
Milwaukee won’t have reserve guardGeorge Hill, who still hasn’t played in this series due to an abdominal strain.
The Bucks have been through this situation before, dealing with a knee injury to one of their top players during the playoffs. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo hyperextended his left knee in Game 4 of last season’s Eastern Conference finals with the Atlanta Hawks.
Antetokounmpo missed the final two games of that series but returned for the next round and was named the MVPof the Bucks’NBA Finals victory over the Phoenix Suns.
As he discussed Middleton’s injury Wednesday, Antetokounmpo said he could understand what his teammate is going through.
”It’s tough,” Antetokounmpo said. ”I know that feeling. You don’t want to listen to nobody. You don’t want to talk to nobody because you really don’t know what it is. Tomorrow you’re expecting the worst, hope for the best. At the end of the day, he knows that we are by his side. I don’t need to say it to the media. He knows that he’s my brother no matter what. We need him to win. We’re going to pray, I’m going to pray for the best and hopefully it’s not too bad and he can join us, because we need him.”
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