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Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton (COVID-19) set to return vs. Lakers

Oct 27, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) tries to keep the ball away from Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) and guard D'Angelo Russell (0) during the first quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) tries to keep the ball away from Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) and guard D’Angelo Russell (0) during the first quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee forward Khris Middleton is slated to return from an eight-game, COVID-19 absence when the Bucks host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

Middleton hasn’t played since Oct. 30 due to testing positive for COVID-19.

“I’ve been working out the last couple of days here while guys were on the road,” Middleton told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “In practice, I felt good. But everybody knows game shape is a totally different ballgame. I can’t wait to see how I feel tomorrow.”

Middleton, 30, said he was fearful when he first learned he had the coronavirus.

“Definitely panic,” Middleton said. “You hear all the stories out there. I definitely feel like my family and I were very fortunate that we didn’t have to end up in the hospital or get severe symptoms.”

Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said the Bucks (6-8) have missed Middleton. The team went 3-5 without him.

“I think it’s underrated what he does for us defensively, underrated what he does for us on the boards, his communication, his leadership,” Budenholzer said. “Everybody’s going to talk about the scoring and the shooting and all those things. I don’t want to undervalue or underestimate those, but I think he really is a complete player and he’s a great leader.”

In six games this season, Middleton has averaged 20.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game for the defending champs. The 10-year veteran owns career averages of 16.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 591 games (516 starts).

The contest against the Lakers is the start of a five-game homestand for the Bucks. Los Angeles will be without forward LeBron James (abdominal strain) for the eighth straight game.

–Field Level Media