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Bucks forward Khris Middleton says ‘rehab is tougher than playing’

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Bucks forward Khris Middleton says 'rehab is tougher than playing'
USA Today Network

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton underwent surgery in July to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist, and the three-time All-Star has missed 15 games since experiencing right knee soreness against the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 15. The 11-year veteran is still undergoing rehabilitation injury management.

However, according to the Milwaukee wing, rehab is more difficult than playing basketball. “It’s been frustrating for the last six, seven months however long it’s been since I’ve been out,” Middleton told Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “The comeback was short-lived. So, I’m definitely excited to get back out there with my guys.”

According to notable NBA betting sites, the Bucks have the second-best odds to win the championship. A few sportsbooks show the Boston Celtics with top-ranked odds, followed by the Brooklyn Nets.

“I know I don’t make it look like I’m excited, but I’m ready to get back out there, that’s all I can say, man,” added the Bucks forward. “Everybody knows that, all the guys know. Rehab is tougher than actually playing games. More hours in the gym, harder stuff.

“Games are fun. You’re in and out. I won’t say easier, but games are supposed to be easier than practices and stuff like that, so I’m ready to put this s—t behind me and move on to the fun stuff.”

Bucks veteran Khris Middleton believes rehabilitating an injury is far more challenging than playing basketball

Through 43 games this season, Middleton has made only seven appearances and has missed a total of 36 contests. He missed the first six weeks due to his offseason wrist surgery, and his return was brief.

During the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs versus the Chicago Bulls, the Texas A&M product suffered a grade 2 sprain of his left MCL, which led him to miss the entire second-round series against the Celtics.

Prior to feeling discomfort in his right knee this season, the 2021 champ was averaging 11.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Plus, he was shooting 32.5% from the floor, 26.8% beyond the arc, and 89.5% at the foul line.

On Dec. 13, in the Bucks’ 128-111 win over the Golden State Warriors, Middleton recorded a season-high 20 points in 29 minutes of action. He finished 6-of-13 (46.2%) shooting from the field and 3-of-7 (42.9%) outside the arc.

“It’s just kind of what I’ve dealt with every summer ramping back up for the season,” mentioned the 31-year-old. “I’ve always had knee issues since college when I tore my meniscus.

“That was one of the reasons why my stock in the draft dropped lower because I was coming off a meniscus injury that a lot of people — not a lot of people, but a couple teams — just didn’t trust it.”

Halfway through the 2022-23 season, the Bucks are 27-16 and rank third in the Eastern Conference standings. They trail the top-seeded Celtics by 4.5 games. Milwaukee needs Khris Middleton to return as soon as possible. Now, the Bucks are 5-5 in their last 10 contests. They are coming off back-to-back losses to the Miami Heat.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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