Bucks’ Khris Middleton Set to Return Against Suns After Injury

Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA News
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

After a 16-game absence due to a left ankle sprain, Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton will return to the court against the Phoenix Suns during Sunday’s NBA action. His injury, which occurred in a game against the Suns on February 6th following a collision with Kevin Durant, sidelined him extensively.

“I can play,” Middleton said. “That’s what it is right now. Everybody’s going through something at this point. I mean, so I’m good enough to play. Ankle sprains, they linger for a little bit of time, but my ankle is good enough to play on right now without causing severe pain or anything like that. So, I’m good.”

Middleton’s return is eagerly anticipated, given his significant contribution to the team before the injury. Despite being limited by a minutes restriction early in the season due to right knee surgery, Middleton had been playing at least 30 minutes per game before his ankle sprain, demonstrating his value to the Bucks.

“I mean, (I) just feel good enough to play at this point,” Middleton said. “I’ve been frustrated sitting out for so long, but when you have an ankle sprain as bad as I did, it just takes time. Sometimes, it takes a little bit longer than others, but I’m happy to be back.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns Updates

Middleton highlighted the challenges of returning from injury, especially regarding defensive reactivity, which was the last hurdle he needed to overcome before being cleared to play.

“With injuries a lot and coming back, you’re able to control a lot of your movements and rehab, but once you get into games, especially on the defensive side, it becomes more of a reactive thing,” Middleton said. “And I wasn’t able to react in the way I wanted to off the movement — guarding pick-and-rolls, guarding guys off the dribble — without the comfort I needed to go out there and play. So that was the last little bit of hurdle that I was trying to cross.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns Updates

Bucks coach Doc Rivers has confirmed that Middleton will be on a minutes restriction upon his return but is optimistic about his impact on the team.

“He did great today. No hesitation. It looked like Khris Middleton,” Rivers said. “So, we are happy. I’m sure it’ll be a minute something, which coaches just love the minute things. We’ll just figure it out.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns Updates

Rivers also expressed his curiosity about integrating Middleton into the team dynamics, especially since he has only had a limited opportunity to coach Middleton due to the injury.

“I don’t know yet because I’ve not had him,” Rivers said. “(Had him in) two games, three games. … So I’m just going to organically watch. I know (I have) some thoughts. I know having the other offensive guy really allows us to play both sides of the floor.”

As the Bucks continue their push towards the postseason, Middleton’s return is a critical step in solidifying their lineup and refining their game plan. They hope to contend for a championship this season.

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