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Report: MRI on Middleton’s knee clean, but will Bucks’ star be ready for playoffs?

A. Sherrod Blakely joins Brother from Another to reveal his top three candidates for NBA MVP, and explains why he believes Joel Embiid is deserving of the title this season.

The Milwaukee Bucks outscore their opponents by 6.5 points per 100 possessions when Khris Middleton is on the court this season, and he is often the guy with the ball in his hands as the primary shot creator in the final minutes of close games — he was critical to their 2021 title run.

Middleton has played in just 33 games this season due to knee issues and has been in and out of the lineup in recent weeks with knee soreness. Shams Chrania of The Athletic provided an update in The Bounce newsletter:

Bucks star Khris Middleton underwent an MRI on his ailing right knee on Thursday and results came back clean, according to sources. Middleton is expected to use the next week or so to rehab the knee in hopes of being ready for the playoffs beginning April 15.

With the top seed locked up, the Bucks have more than a week off before facing whoever comes out of the play-in as the No.8 seed (likely one of Atlanta, Toronto and Chicago). With a healthy Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday (plus a deep cast of supporting characters), Milwaukee likely could make the second round without getting a lot out of Middleton, but at that point they are going to need him.

Middleton was a 20+ a game scorer the previous three seasons, and was an All-Star and an Olympian in recent years, but is averaging 15.1 points per game this season and shooting just 31.5% from 3 due to the knee pain (he’s a career 38.8% shooter from beyond the arc). The Bucks just don’t need Middleton back they need the elite Middleton to have a shot at another ring.

The Bucks also could be without Grayson Allen to start the playoffs, as his ankle sprain is worse than feared, but Milwaukee is hoping the week off is enough to get him healed and able to play.