The Milwaukee Bucks have upgraded two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to probable for tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons. He missed the previous five games due to left knee soreness.
Antetokounmpo was also probable last Jan. 16 before the Indiana Pacers game but didn’t play that night. Despite upgrading his official status, his availability is still pretty much 50/50. The Milwaukee Bucks will likely monitor him during the morning shootaround before he’ll be cleared to play.
Over his past five games before the injury, the six-time NBA All-Star averaged 24.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists. He struggled more than what the league is accustomed to seeing from him, hitting just 45.8% of his field goals.
The Milwaukee Bucks will be hoping their franchise leader has regained his shooting touch if he takes the floor tonight. Bobby Portis is expected to take Antetokounmpo’s place in the starting unit yet again if “The Greek Freak” is somehow still sidelined.
Meanwhile, former NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets has also been upgraded to questionable tonight versus the Utah Jazz. The point guard sat out last Saturday’s encounter with the Atlanta Hawks after injuring his ankle in the previous game.
Ball played only 20 minutes after teammate PJ Washington landed on his left ankle barely three minutes into the third quarter against the Houston Rockets. He is also dealing with wrist soreness, which further complicates his availability on the road against the Jazz.
The injured ankle is the same one that caused LaMelo Ball to miss 24 games earlier in the season. There’s a decent chance the Charlotte Hornets will be without one of the NBA’s most electrifying players tonight.
Terry Rozier, who has been on a tear of late, will continue to handle more of the offensive load if Ball sits out another game.
Marcus Smart: Right ankle sprain; Injured since January 21, 2023
Marcus Smart sprained his right ankle in the first half of the game between the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors. Boston’s starting point guard played only 16 minutes and finished with two points, two rebounds and four assists.
The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year has now been ruled out tonight when the Celtics play the host Orlando Magic. Smart’s absence means that Boston will not have three key players versus the Magic as Robert Williams III and Malcolm Brogdon are also ruled out.
Marcus Smart is averaging 11.1 points, a career-high 7.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 41 games. Payton Pritchard and Derrick White’s minutes are expected to get a significant bump without Smart and Brogdon running the point.
Khris Middleton: Right knee soreness; Injured since December 18, 2023
Khris Middleton has missed the Milwaukee Bucks’ past 18 games due to right knee soreness. He could be in line to play tonight versus the Detroit Pistons as he has been upgraded to probable.
The Bucks were only 9-9 during that stretch as it coincided with two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo also missing several games. Both have probable designations heading into the matchup against the Pistons.
Middleton has played only seven games this season after undergoing wrist surgery on his non-shooting hand in the offseason. He hardly resembles the three-time NBA All-Star that the Bucks have come to expect.
Milwaukee is hoping he can get his rhythm and confidence back as the battle for playoff spots heats up.