Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton tested positive for COVID-19, coach Mike Budenholzer revealed before Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
Middleton missed Sunday’s game against the Utah Jazz for what the team initially believed to be a non-COVID illness, before going into NBA health and safety protocols before Tuesday’s game.
“We thought he just had a cold or some kind of illness not caused by COVID,” Budenholzer said. “And later, [él] he did not feel well again the next day. He was tested and it came back positive. “
Middleton joins Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris and Cavaliers forward Kevin Love as NBA players who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of this week.
A player who tests positive has to sit for a minimum of 10 days, which could knock out Middleton for the next six games until next Friday’s road match against the Boston Celtics.
Middleton’s absence is the latest blow to an already sold-out Bucks roster. Entering Tuesday’s game, only seven players had appeared in the team’s seven games, including two-way guard Justin Robinson. Milwaukee had already missed two starters, Jrue Holiday (sprained left ankle) and Brook Lopez (back pain), on opening night. Donte Divincenzo, his projected starting guard, has not played since injuring his left ankle during the playoffs last year.
Holiday is on his way to being the first to return from the group. He returned to practice recently, but after a shortened offseason following the NBA Finals and playing Team USA in the Olympics, the team will be cautious about his return from injury.
“We’ve been very, very lucky, it seems like my three years here in Milwaukee have been very, very healthy,” Budenholzer said. “Yeah, it’s a challenge to figure out who’s available, to get the best groupings and how we can beat a game. And not really wear down the healthy guys.”