Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton could make his season debut as soon as Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, as Shams Charania reported on The Pat McAfee Show:
Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow
"Khris Middleton is nearing his season debut & it could potentially be as soon as Friday against the Lakers" ~<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShamsCharania</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/BnYdfAk4Mp">pic.twitter.com/BnYdfAk4Mp</a>
Middleton has been recovering from offseason wrist surgery.
The Bucks were originally hoping the three-time All-Star would return at some point in November, as Charania and Eric Nehm of The Athletic reported prior to the season opener. It's now clear he won't return until at least Dec. 2, but he is "close" to a return, per Charania.
Middleton hasn't played for the Bucks since suffering an MCL sprain in the first round of last year's playoffs, missing the team's final 10 postseason games. Milwaukee was eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Bucks have fared well without him this season, going 14-5 to sit in second place in the Eastern Conference. Grayson Allen has taken on a bigger role on the wing, while Jevon Carter has played well at point guard to allow the team to go with a smaller lineup.
Getting Middleton back would still be a significant boost for Milwaukee, as he's one of the best two-way players in the NBA.
The guard finished last season averaging 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, shooting 37.3 percent from three-point range. The team was 5.2 points per 100 possessions better with Middleton on the court rather than off it, per Basketball Reference.
Middleton was also a key part of the Bucks winning the 2021 NBA title, averaging 23.6 points per game during the playoff run.
If Middleton can return soon and stay healthy, Milwaukee will be a dangerous team for the remainder of 2022-23.