MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks suffered some brutal injury misfortune in Game 2 of their first-round series with the Chicago Bulls.
First, Bobby Portis left the contest in the first quarter with a right eye abrasion. Later, Khris Middleton was hobbled — and forced out of the game — after slipping on a drive midway through the fourth.
The Middleton diagnosis is more grim. According to Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, the All-Star wing suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee. Middleton will undergo an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the injury.
"From what I was just told, on exam, it's an MCL sprain," Budenholzer told reporters. "We'll get an MRI tomorrow and see what more we learn."
If Middleton misses any time, it's an absence that obviously has the potential to massively impact the series. Middleton was the Bucks' second-leading scorer in the regular season, averaging 20.1 points, and is a frontline piece of their wing rotation for his facilitating and defense as well.
Although he struggled to the tune of seven turnovers in Game 1, he appeared to be finding his footing in Game 2 before the injury, scoring 18 points and draining 5-of-7 3-pointers.
"You never like to see guys get hurt," said Alex Caruso, who has a close relationship with Middleton because of their shared alma mater, Texas A&M. "We're gonna have to see. I'm sure Jrue (Holiday) and Giannis (Antetokounmpo) will get a little more usage. But their role guys are gonna step up so we just gotta be ready for some guys to be aggressive that maybe weren't as aggressive the first two games."
Added Nikola Vučević: "You do not want to see anybody get hurt, especially at this time of year. Everybody wants to play and compete and be part of the team. I hope he's not really injured and he can play because you want everyone to play and really compete. So I hope it's nothing serious."
Soon, the severity will be known. And with the Bulls knotting the series 1-1 as the games shift to Chicago, the stakes are high.