Khris Middleton says he will miss start of season following wrist surgery – NBC Sports

When Khris Middleton first went under the knife this summer to clean up issues with his left wrist, he expected to return in time for the start of the season.
At Bucks media day Sunday, Middleton said he’s not going to make that opening night goal but should be back early in the season, as reported by Jamal Collier of ESPN.
Khris Middleton acknowledges he won’t be ready to play opening night, but hopes to return sometime near the beginning of the season.
The cast has been removed from his wrist and he hopes to get some range of motion and pick up a basketball in the next few weeks
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) September 25, 2022

The Bucks open the season on the road Oct. 18 against the Celtics (who have their own set of issues heading into this year).
Middleton’s importance to the Bucks was evident in the playoffs, when not having him as a secondary shot creator was a key aspect of their seven-game loss to the Celtics.
Middleton averaged 20.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a game last season. A healthy Bucks team — with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Jrue Holiday as the core — enter the season as serious title contenders. But they need Middleton, so they will not rush him back.
LOS ANGELES — There were a lot of questions after the final seconds of the Lakers’ loss to the 76ers Sunday night: Why didn’t LeBron James — the best player on the floor in the game, with 35 points with 10 assists — touch the ball? Why did Russell Westbrook choose to isolate against Joel Embiid — a cross-match, but Embiid is one of the best defensive centers in the game and a huge body not easy to drive around? Why didn’t Lakers coach Darvin Ham call a timeout when he saw what was happening?
The final result wasn’t pretty for a Lakers team in need of wins.
Westbrook fumbled the ball on his first move, gathered it, but by then time was running out so he drove left, couldn’t get by Embiid and the help defense of Georges Niang, and put up what officially was a shot blocked by Niang (although it almost looks like Westbrook is trying to pass to Troy Brown Jr. in the opposite corner). Embiid grabbed the loose ball, and that was the game.
mini: van
HUGE: GAME WINNING BLOCK pic.twitter.com/2ZiTWWuUUY
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 16, 2023

Westbrook said he was fouled on that final shot attempt, even showing a few reporters around his locker a photo as evidence.
“I was trying to attack and get to the basket. Unfortunately, he was grabbing my wrist. I couldn’t get the ball up,” Westbrook said. “But it’s all good.”
Did Joel Embiid get away with a foul on Russell Westbrook on the final play of Lakers-Sixers? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/JazbNRX6Ps
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 16, 2023

Embiid denied that he fouled Westbrook, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“I don’t think I fouled him,” Embiid said. “Physical play on both sides. You could have called a foul on the other end, too, on the bump. So, it goes both ways… They were pushing the ball in transition and he was in front of me and I just waved everybody else off. I believe I’m a great defender, so I believe I can get a stop on anybody. He was actually unlucky because he lost the ball and then from there, he kind of had nothing else going.”
It may have been a foul by the book, but it was a subtle one in real-time and the kind of thing rarely called in the final seconds of a game.
The bigger questions surrounded the decision to let Westbrook isolate on Embiid in the first place — why didn’t LeBron James touch the ball? Why didn’t Lakers coach Darvin Ham use his time out?
“Just being down one point in the ball in Russell Westbrook’s hands, I’m comfortable with that. I don’t know how much I can reiterate that,” Ham said postgame. “If that was Bron it’d be the same thing, and we don’t want to bring an extra body over… if we got cross-match with Embiid in front of us again, we just got to make it. We just got to finish the play. That’s it.”
“We got a stop, gave ourselves a chance to win the game, we didn’t,” a frustrated LeBron said postgame in the locker room. When a reporter tried to link this loss to the Lakers’ loss to Dallas last Thursday in double overtime, LeBron simply said, “different game.”
It was a different game, but it also was the second straight game the Lakers could not get a stop when they needed it, couldn’t get a last bucket when they needed it, and lost in the clutch. In both cases, the Lakers didn’t get a late foul call they thought they deserved.
While both losses are to top-five teams in their conference, the Lakers are past the point in the season where they can afford moral victories. Los Angeles is five games below .500 and sits 13th in the West.
“We’re a better team [now] than at the start of the season,” LeBron said.
“I know when we have our team together, when we locked in, we’re a really good team,” Westbrook said.
LOS ANGELES — Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Lakers got the full Russell Westbrook experience Sunday

There are more positives than negatives with the Russell Westbrook experience lately in Los Angeles… but oh, those negatives leave a mark.
Westbrook brings energy off the bench the Lakers need nightly. Sunday night against Philadelphia he had his fourth triple-double off the bench this season (20 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists). He’s had improved chemistry with LeBron James of late, which showed with two key buckets late in the first half Sunday.
RUSS TO LEBRON 🤯
TOUGH.
📲 https://t.co/WjxYAo1gl0 pic.twitter.com/pWflnQRaaO
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023

Even defensively, Westbrook made a play. With the 76ers up one and less than :30 seconds remaining in the game, he got switched onto Joel Embiid and played solid defense, not getting bullied in the paint and pushing Embiid to take a fade-away jumper that hit the front of the rim.
Then came the negative.
Westbrook got the rebound off that Embiid miss, brought the ball up, and never looked to LeBron — who was the best player on the floor in the game, scoring 35 points with 10 assists — instead deciding he would isolate in a cross-match against Joel Embiid (a guy who gets mentioned in Defensive Player of the Year conversations). Westbrook fumbled the ball a little, gathered it, then time was running out so he drove left, couldn’t get by Embiid and the help defense of Georges Niang, and put up what he said was a shot but almost looked like he wanted to skip pass to Troy Brown Jr. in the opposite corner. Whatever it was, Niang was officially credited with a block and, for the second straight game, the Lakers lost in the clutch.
mini: van
HUGE: GAME WINNING BLOCK pic.twitter.com/2ZiTWWuUUY
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 16, 2023

Westbrook said he was fouled on that final shot attempt, even showing a few reporters around his locker a photo as evidence.
“I was trying to attack and get to the basket. Unfortunately, he was grabbing my wrist. I couldn’t get the ball up,” Westbrook said. “But it’s all good.”
Did Joel Embiid get away with a foul on Russell Westbrook on the final play of Lakers-Sixers? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/JazbNRX6Ps
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 16, 2023

Embiid denied that he fouled Westbrook (and countered that Westbrook had fouled him on the other end, but these things don’t get called late in games).
Joel Embiid on the last play guarding Russell Westbrook: “I don’t think I fouled him … He was unlucky because he lost the ball. I would say he was unlucky”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 16, 2023

It may have been a foul by the book, but it was a subtle one in real-time and the kind of thing rarely called in the final seconds of a game. The bigger question was the decision to let Westbrook isolate on Embiid in the first place — why didn’t LeBron James touch the ball? Why didn’t Lakers coach Darvin Ham call a time-out (the Lakers had one) and set up a play?
“Just being down one point in the ball in Russell Westbrook’s hands, I’m comfortable with that. I don’t know how much I can reiterate that,” Ham said postgame. “If that was Bron it’d be the same thing, and we don’t want to bring an extra body over… if we got cross-match within Embiid in front of us again, we just got to make it. We just got to finish the play. That’s it.”
It was the second straight game the Lakers could not get a stop when they needed it, couldn’t get a last bucket when they needed it, and lost in the clutch. The previous loss was to Dallas, this one to Philadelphia — both top-five teams in their conference — but the Lakers are past the point in the season where they can have moral victories. Los Angeles is five games below .500 and sits 13th in the West.
“I know when we have our team together, when we locked in, we’re a really good team,” Westbrook said.
The Lakers’ biggest highlight of the night came in the first quarter, when with a 20-foot straight-on jumper LeBron became only the second player in NBA history to reach 38,000 points.
HISTORY MADE 👑
LeBron James becomes only the second player in NBA history to score 38,000 career points. pic.twitter.com/uqLckZ9LY0
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023

After this game LeBron is just 364 points shy of the once thought unbreakable NBA all-time scoring mark of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. LeBron is on pace to set the record around the All-Star break in February.
It wasn’t pretty. Not the Nuggets’ second half (they led by 15 at halftime), nor the final play itself.
It didn’t matter — Nikola Jokic bailed the Nuggets out with a step-back 3 game-winner to beat the Magic on Sunday.
NIKOLA JOKIC CALLED GAME 😱 pic.twitter.com/5zu0ALNLn4
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023

It was a league-leading 12th triple-double for Jokic, who finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists. Aaron Gordon led the Nuggets with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
In his revenge game against his former team Bol Bol had 17 points off the bench for the Magic.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day about things far more important than basketball — a chance to reflect on one of the great leaders America ever produced, and the ongoing struggle for the justice and equality he preached.
But it is also a day the NBA has embraced and celebrates with an impressive slate of games.
There are nine games on the day, but three that should draw your focus in particular.
Pelicans at Cavaliers (3 p.m. Eastern, NBA League Pass). New Orleans will be without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, but CJ McCollum and company have still been finding ways to keep their head above water and win some games until their stars return. Getting a win will not be easy against the second-best defense in the NBA (led by Jarrett Allen) and the unleashed scoring machine that is Donovan Mitchell in Cleveland.
Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks (3:30 p.m. Eastern, TNT). Atlanta is a special place on MLK Day, the city where he was born and raised (if you’re there, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is must visit). The Hawks celebrate that legacy well — and they need a win. This is a struggling franchise that has seen a front office shakeup, they are trying to trade one of their stars (John Collins), and the fit of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray has not been smooth all season. Into town comes a Heat team that has won three in a row — sweeping a couple of games against the Bucks — and looks like it is finally starting to find its footing (if they can just stay healthy and keep their stars on the court).
Phoenix Suns at Memphis Grizzlies (6 p.m. Eastern, TNT). Memphis is where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and it’s home to the National Civil Rights Museum — another city where the MLK Day events are not to be missed. Memphis is also home to Ja Morant, the most entertaining player in the NBA today, and a Grizzlies team that is finally mostly healthy and starting to play like a contender. They host a Suns team that has struggled mightily without Devin Booker (who remains out), but still can be a threat when Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton get rolling.
The other games on the NBA slate today are Celtics at Hornets, Pacers at Bucks, Raptors at Knicks, Jazz at Timberwolves, Rockets at Lakers.
It’s what Nikola Jokic does.
On a night the Nuggets were sloppy in the second half and almost gave a game away a 15-point halftime lead, Nikola Jokic bailed them out with a step-back 3 game-winner on a busted play.
NIKOLA JOKIC CALLED GAME 😱 pic.twitter.com/5zu0ALNLn4
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023

It’s good to have Jokic on your team.
Michael Malone: “Are you not entertained? …. (and then whispers) holy shi*.”
That’s the start of the press conference.
— Mike Singer (@msinger) January 16, 2023

Jokic finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists, his league-leading 12th triple-double of the season. Aaron Gordon led the Nuggets with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Markelle Fultz led a balanced Magic attack scoring 20, and going against his former team Bol Bol had 17 points off the bench.
LOS ANGELES — Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been in this rarified air.
On a 20-foot straight-on jumper with 5:43 left in the first quarter, LeBron James became only the second player in NBA history to reach 38,000 points.
HISTORY MADE 👑
LeBron James becomes only the second player in NBA history to score 38,000 career points. pic.twitter.com/uqLckZ9LY0
— NBA (@NBA) January 16, 2023

That bucket leaves LeBron just 387 points shy of the once thought unbreakable NBA all-time scoring mark of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. LeBron is on pace to set the record just before the All-Star break in February, but if he misses a couple of back-to-backs — he has had a sore ankle and is 38 — it could come at home against the Warriors in the first game after the break.
Either way, it’s a piece of history.
“I think he’s gonna have the greatest career of all time,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said of LeBron. “I think he’s already had it, you know, and I think Michaels the greatest of all time. But that doesn’t take anything away from LeBron. LeBron has had the greatest career.”

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