Less than three months ago, Milwaukee Bucks standout forward Khris Middleton suffered an MCL sprain that ended his season. With Middleton unavailable, the Bucks were unable to defeat the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics but, if not for that injury, it is at least plausible that Giannis Antetokounmpo and company would have made a return trip to the NBA Finals. Now, Middleton will reportedly be recovering from a different injury over the summer, as ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Adrian Wojnarowski report the three-time NBA All-Star recently underwent wrist surgery.
Milwaukee Bucks All-Star forward Khris Middleton underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist in early July and is expected to be fully recovered to return sometime near the start of the regular season, sources told @wojespn and me.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 13, 2022
Notably, Middleton’s wrist injury is on his non-shooting arm, which is at least slightly preferable. However, the wording is interesting in that Middleton’s projected return is noted as “sometime near the start of the regular season,” rather than in advance of training camp. Beyond that, the Bucks have every reason to be careful with Middleton, both because he is a key piece of their team and also because Milwaukee undoubtedly plans to make a deep playoff run again in 2023.
Middleton, who is now 30 years old, averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game for Milwaukee last season. While Antetokounmpo is the team’s clear No. 1 option on offense, Middleton often takes on an incredibly important role as a shot creator, particularly in difficult situations, and he is also a solid defender on the wing. If his absence continues into the season, the Bucks will likely turn to Grayson Allen, Wes Matthews, and Pat Connaughton for more minutes, particularly as newly-signed wing Joe Ingles is also recovering from a long-term injury.