Bucks Sharp-Shooter Shooting For Late-Season Return

Khris Middleton isn’t making any promises but he’s definitely keeping the faith.

The Milwaukee Bucks veteran swingman was expected to play a major role for the team this season, but saw those plans shattered in late September when he blew out his left hamstring during an informal workout with some of his teammates.

Bucks officials said Middleton had torn his hamstring, but what they didn’t say was that the fifth-year pro had torn the hamstring completely off the bone.

“That’s a pretty rare injury; that’s unusual,’’ said a league official.

Several NBA officials, in conversations concerning Middleton’s injury, said they were unaware of any player, at least in recent years, who sustained a similar injury.

All of them also strongly felt Middleton’s season is over, contrary to the Bucks’ contentions that he could return late this season. At the time of Middleton’s setback, Bucks officials said Middleton would be sidelined for “approximately six months.’’

If that is indeed the case, Middleton could be available for about 13 of the Bucks’ final regular-season games as well as the playoffs, if they advanced to postseason.

Now, two months after his major injury, Middleton is slowly easing his way back. He is back on the court again and, while he is incapable of running and cutting, he is nevertheless working on his game.

“I’ve been doing some shooting; I’m just trying to get back into a little shooting form,’’ said Middleton, the Bucks’ leading scorer last season at 18.2 points a game who is unquestionably the team’s best perimeter shooter. “I’m doing a lot of mid-range shooting, maybe with one or two dribbles.

“I’m just trying to move around. Nothing strenuous.’’

Middleton knows he has a lot of work in front of him to regain his old form and be fully healthy again. He concedes he has no clue when he’ll return to action, adding, “Nah, I don’t know. Not yet.’’

But Middleton, who was all smiles while on the court the other day with his teammates, is optimistic about playing this season – as Bucks officials have stated.

“I think I’ll be back at some point this season,’’ Middleton said. “When? I just don’t know yet.’’