The NBA Playoffs continue this weekend live on Sky Sports starting off on Friday overnight with Game 3 of Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks; on Saturday we have Game 3 between Milwaukee and Boston and Golden State against Memphis; on Sunday, we return to Dallas for Game 4
Friday 6 May 2022 10:41, UK
Khris Middleton will miss the entirety of the Milwaukee Bucks' upcoming series with Boston Celtics after it emerged he has a Grade 2 MCL sprain.
The Bucks forward exited Game 2 of the first round Eastern Conference series against the Chicago Bulls with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that it is a more serious Grade 2 sprain.
He tweeted: "The left MCL injury of Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton is a Grade 2 sprain and he is expected to miss the entire second-round series vs Celtics. The recovery of Grade 2 MCL places a potential Conference Finals in jeopardy for him as well."
In a major blow to the hopes of retaining their NBA crown, it seems the Bucks will have to overcome a strong Boston Celtics team, which just swept the Brooklyn Nets, without one of their key All-Star calibre players.
Middleton exited Game 2 against the Bulls with 6:49 left after his left leg gave out while he tried to plant on a spin move. Middleton initially tried to walk it off but eventually headed into the locker room.
As the defending champion Bucks spoke after last Wednesday's game, they braced for the possibility they could be missing Middleton for a significant time – and so it has turned out.
"You feel for him," Bucks guard Wesley Matthews said. "Khris is a huge part of this team, this organisation, this city.
"You could see that he was limping, limping and limping," Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said. "You're thinking, 'I hope this is not bad. I hope this is not bad. I hope this is not bad.' We need this guy. Then when he asks for a sub, you know it's kind of bothering him because he doesn't leave the game if he's not hurt."
Middleton had 18 points and eight assists before leaving the game. The 30-year-old averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists during the season.
He played a vital role in the Bucks' title run last season, averaging at least 21.5 points in each of the four playoff series. He had 24 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in the NBA Finals.
"Obviously Khris is one of the best players on the team," Antetokounmpo said. "If he's not able to be with us, it going to be a tremendous loss for us. But at the end of the day, we've got guys that hopefully can step up and we can still do our job and compete and enjoy the game, and hopefully it's not something very serious and he can come back and join us very soon."
If Middleton is to see the court again this season, then Giannis and the rest of the Bucks have a lot of hard work to do without him.