Bucks’ Middleton out at least 2 weeks with knee injury

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton is expected to miss at least two weeks after injuring his left knee Wednesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series with the Chicago Bulls.

The Bucks announced Thursday night that the three-time All-Star underwent an MRI earlier in the day and will deliver their next status update on him in “about two weeks.”

That probably knocks him out at least for the rest of the Bucks-Bulls series, which is tied 1-1. If the series lasts seven games, it will end on May 1.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said after the Bucks’ 114-110 loss on Wednesday that Middleton had a sprained medial collateral ligament. MRI confirmed this diagnosis.

As defending champion Bucks spoke after Wednesday’s game, they prepared for the possibility of missing Middleton for significant time.

“You feel for him,” Bucks goaltender Wesley Matthews said. “Khris is an integral part of this team, this organization, this city.”

Middleton headed to the locker room with 6:49 left in Wednesday’s game. His left leg gave out as he tried to plant on a spinning motion.

The Bucks received some good news on Thursday.

Their Game 3 injury report does not include striker Bobby Portis, an indication that he should be available to play after missing most of Game 2 with an abrasion to his right eye. Portis was hit in the face by Chicago’s Tristan Thompson late in the first quarter as both players looked for a rebound.

Milwaukee won’t have reserve guard George Hill, who still hasn’t played in this series due to abdominal strain.

The Bucks have been through this before, dealing with a knee injury to one of their best players during the playoffs. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo hypertensed his left knee in Game 4 of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals with the Atlanta Hawks.

Antetokounmpo missed the final two games of this series but returned for the next round and was named MVP in the Bucks’ NBA Finals win over the Phoenix Suns.

While speaking about Middleton’s injury on Wednesday, Antetokounmpo said he can understand what his teammate is going through.

“It’s difficult,” said Antetokounmpo. “I know that feeling. You don’t want to listen to anyone. You don’t want to talk to anyone because you really don’t know what it is. Tomorrow you expect the worst, hope for the best. At the end of the day, he knows that we’re on his side. I don’t need to tell the media. He knows he’s my brother no matter what. We need him to win. We’ll pray, I’ll pray for the best. and I hope it’s not too serious and that he can join us, because we need him.

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