Khris Middleton joins Antetokounmpo on Bucks’ list of players dealing with injuries


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton’s status for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with the Indiana Pacers is uncertain after he hurt his ankle in the last game and didn’t practice Thursday.

Middleton was limping in the first quarter of the Bucks’ 125-108 Game 2 loss on Tuesday and briefly went into the locker room, but he returned after getting his right ankle re-taped and ended up playing 36 minutes. Bucks coach Doc Rivers said Middleton didn’t practice at all on Thursday and was unsure of the three-time All-Star’s availability for Friday’s game in Indianapolis.

“It’s another holding-our-breath situation,” Rivers said. “Honesty, I don’t know.”

The Bucks and Pacers are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series. Middleton has averaged 19 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5 assists through the first two games.

Milwaukee already played the first two games of this series without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who also missed the Bucks’ final three regular-season games after straining his left calf in an April 9 victory over the Boston Celtics.

“He did a lot of floor stuff today, probably the most I’ve seen,” Rivers said. “Nothing live. He was shooting and moving today.”

Antetokounmpo’s potential return date or possible availability for Friday remains uncertain.

“I saw him moving around and my mindset is he’s getting close,” Rivers said. “Does that mean a day, four days? I’m not sure.”

The Bucks are accustomed to dealing with injuries during the postseason.

Antetokounmpo missed the final 1½ games of a 2020 second-round loss to Miami with a sprained ankle. He didn’t play the final two games of the 2021 Eastern Conference finals with a hyperextended knee before returning to lead Milwaukee to the championship as the NBA Finals MVP who scored 50 points in the title-clinching victory.

Middleton missed the Bucks’ final 10 playoff games in 2022 with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Last year, a bruised lower back knocked Antetokounmpo out of Game 1 and caused him to miss the next two games in the Bucks’ first-round loss to Miami.



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