The Milwaukee Bucks lost 114-110 to the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 on Wednesday, but even worse than that the Bucks lost two key players in the process. Early in the fourth quarter forward Khris Middleton exited the game with left knee soreness after slipping awkwardly in the middle of a spin move in the post. Big man Bobby Portis left the game at halftime after taking a shot to the eye in the first quarter of the game.
Both injuries hindered the Bucks down the stretch as they were trying to climb back from an 18-point deficit against the Bulls. But Middleton’s injury has far more significance going forward in this series. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game that Middleton suffered an MCL sprain and would get an MRI Thursday to find out more information.
The results of that imaging confirmed a sprained MCL and Middleton will be re-evaluated in two weeks, the Bucks announced on Thursday. That timeline will keep him out for the remainder of the first-round series vs. the Bulls.
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Middleton’s injury is a significant blow to a Bucks team that doesn’t have a great deal of depth. It’ll mean more will be asked from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday on offense, while role players like Wes Matthews and Pat Connaughton will need to start hitting shots at a consistent rate.
When the injury occurred, Middleton was just starting to heat up for the Bucks. After putting up just three points in the first half, Middleton racked up 15 points in the second half as he was leading Milwaukee’s comeback. His exit from the game zapped a lot of energy out of Milwaukee, and while it managed to still chip away at Chicago’s lead, not having him on the floor was clearly detrimental.
“You feel for him,” Matthews said. “Obviously you feel for him. Khris is a huge part of this team, this organization, this city. I’m not sure what the situation is, I’m sure we’ll know more tomorrow. Just keep rallying with him. He’s gonna be there for us. Hopefully it’s not as bad, and we still got a job to do. Our goal is to win basketball games and get him back as fast as possible.”