Bucks vs Jazz Game Updates; Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo out
After suffering their worst loss of the season on Thursday, the Milwaukee Bucks (20-8) are back at the Fiserv Forum for a game against the Utah Jazz (17-14) on Saturday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came into the questionable night to play with knee pain, but coach Mike Budenhozler said during a pregame media availability that Antetokounmpo would not play. Joining him on the touchline is Khris Middleton, who had already been ruled out with knee pain.
“I think I would probably describe it as we’re very hopeful that it’s short term,” Budenholzer said of Middleton’s injury. “Unless this takes an unusual turn, we expect it to be pretty short. That obviously has some wiggle room on both sides.”
Middleton had played in just seven games this year after struggling to recover from surgery on his left wrist. He was knocked out of the first round of the playoffs last year against the Chicago Bulls with an MCL sprain in his left knee; this pain is the other knee.
Budenholzer said Jrue Holiday, who has missed the past two games with illness, is expected to play.
The Bucks are 3-1 without Antetokounmpo on the court this season, including most recently in Charlotte, when Middleton and Holiday were also out.
Tipoff is set for 7 pm
Joe Ingles will debut in the season on Monday
Budenholzer indicated the plan is to have Joe Ingles available for his Bucks debut on Monday in New Orleans. The 35-year-old signed as a free agent with the Bucks in the offseason and was not expected to return so soon after tearing his ACL in a game on Jan. 30 last season, with surgery in late February.
“You always have to check the boxes, see how he feels after today, but he’s had multiple 5-on-5s, and we feel like we’re very confident that he’s ready,” Budenholzer said ahead of Saturday. match against the former English team, the Jazz. “I think he’s dying to go, ready to play. We’ll make sure he feels good tomorrow, but the expectation is for him to play on Monday.”
Ingles and teammates Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Jordan Nwora held a practice early Saturday against members of the Wisconsin Herd, the final test before Ingles takes the field. Budenholzer noted that Ingles, in addition to offering a new dimension of 3-point shooting for a team that is in the middle of the NBA in that department, brings a lot to the table.
“In the NBA, whether it’s early in the season or in the middle of the season, you need guys who can get past the guys, talk to the other team a little bit, talk to the coaches a little bit,” Budenholzer said. “His voice and his energy, and him blending into the locker room and developing friendships and relationships before he even got to the court… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy do it the way he has without playing. Usually this league, you have to get on the pitch and play.”
Budenholzer also said he was impressed with Ingles’ passing and believed Ingles could serve as a tough, twitchy defender.
“I think we can put out some lineups with him that are really long and really big,” Budenholzer said. “There are a lot of things that we think he brings to the table as a basketball player that will benefit our team.”
For an injury that often takes a year to heal, Ingles will return within 10 months of surgery.
“If you believe in setting goals and things like that, now is when he expected and wanted to come back and he’s put in the time and effort to meet that goal,” Budenholzer said. “Our medical group is incredibly thorough and incredibly good, and he’s thrilled that he’s been able to work and put in the time, and that his body and knee have been able to respond in a positive way and he’s able to get back to the early side of his screening.”
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