Milwaukee Bucks guard Khris Middleton has a left hamstring injury that will require surgery, sidelining the team’s best outside shooter for about six months.
The Bucks announced the injury Wednesday. Surgery is planned for the next week.
Middleton tore the hamstring in a workout Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Middleton averaged a career-high 18.2 points and 4.2 assists in 79 games last season. He was drafted by Detroit in the second round in 2012 and traded to Milwaukee the following year.
Middleton has blossomed with the Bucks, turning into a key player for a franchise on the rise that was hoping to return to the playoffs this season.
“We’re obviously disappointed for Khris and our team, but injuries are an unfortunate part of the game,” general manager John Hammond. “We’ll rely on our overall roster depth to help us while Khris is out for a significant period of the season.”
Training camp starts next week in Madison. The estimated six-month timeline for Middleton’s recovery means that he could return in mid-to-late March, with about a month left in the regular season.
Middleton apparently hurt the hamstring after attending a team news conference on Tuesday announcing a four-year, $100 million contract extension for forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last summer, Middleton signed a five-year, $70 million extension.
Antetokounmpo, Middleton and forward Jabari Parker are considered building blocks for a young team. The plan is for the Bucks to turn into a playoff contender by the time a new downtown arena opens in 2018, with the trio leading the way.
In 2016-17, Milwaukee may need last year’s first-round draft pick, guard Rashad Vaughn, to help replace Middleton, a career 40 percent shooter from 3-point range. The Bucks also drafted guard Malcolm Brogdon from Virginia, who shot 39 percent from behind the arc as a senior, in the second round this year.
Milwaukee also re-signed veteran forward Steve Novak, a 3-point specialist, in the offseason.
The Bucks last made the playoffs in 2014-15, making a surprise run in spite of a left knee injury that sidelined Parker the last four months of that season.
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