With him being kept away from team activities due to his series of nagging injuries, Khris Middleton can’t be more frustrated with regards to his current status.
Middleton told The Athletic’s Eric Nehm that his ongoing recovery process has been too daunting as he went in and out of the Bucks team for nearly eight months.
“It’s been frustrating for the last six, seven months however long it’s been since I’ve been out,” Middleton told The Athletic. “The comeback was short-lived. So, I’m definitely excited to get back out there with my guys. 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. 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— behind me and move on to the fun stuff.”
Middleton had a rough recovery beginning back in the 2022 playoffs, wherein he sustained an MCL injury during the first round against the Chicago Bulls. In the offseason, he eventually underwent a needed wrist surgery in which the recovery timeline sidelined him to start the season with Milwaukee.
After missing the first 20 games, Middleton made his debut in early December against the Los Angeles Lakers. He then proceeded to play six more games until having a left ankle sprain on Dec. 11 against Houston.
On Dec. 15 against the Memphis Grizzlies, the star swingman sustained another injury with right knee soreness that is keeping him limited until now.
As all of his activities off from rehabbing are considerably short-lived, Middleton is understandably fed up.
“It absolutely sucks,” Middleton said. “That’s why I take the offseason very seriously and unfortunately I couldn’t put the work in that I’m accustomed to and I like to do in the offseason because of my wrist. But coming back, I know people get nervous about certain injuries. Like me falling on my wrist, I’m not worried about that. Slipping, hopefully that won’t happen, but you never know.
“And my knee issue, it’s not something I feel like I’m going to injure myself with my knee when I’m playing, it’s more trying to, when I go back out there, I’m good. I can play for a long time. I don’t have to worry about pain or my swelling coming back out of nowhere.”
With his healing remains in progress, Middleton is proud of the fight that he sees within the Bucks.
Amid missing their second best player, Milwaukee is still charging behind the leads of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez. The Wisconsin-based troop is currently the third-seeded team in the East with a 28-16 record while maintaining itself as one of the heavyweight contenders in the association.
“I think these guys are giving it their all each and every night,” Middleton said. “They’re finding different ways to stay in games and win games. Different guys are playing different minutes. We got two-way guys playing in crucial moments within the game. Everybody is trying to step up and do something that they haven’t been accustomed to doing their whole career.
“I just see myself making the game easier for those guys, knowing that these guys are working their asses off. That I can come in and hopefully give Jrue (Holiday) a break on the ball and let him do his thing on defense and make it easier on offense. Same thing with Giannis. Same thing with Brook (Lopez). Just come back and try to make everybody’s lives easier.”