The Milwaukee Bucks have been dealt another injury to their depth chart.
Forward Nikola Mirotic has been diagnosed with a sprained left thumb and fracture, the team announced today. Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Mirotic will miss the next two to four weeks with the injury.
Mirotic, who was acquired by Milwaukee via New Orleans at the trade deadline, has been a valuable 3-point shooting threat for the Bucks since he landed there. However, Mirotic was slowed earlier this season by a calf injury when he was playing for the Pelicans.
If Mirotic misses the full four weeks, he would likely not return to Milwaukee's lineup until sometime during the playoffs. The postseason begins on April 13 and, depending on how the Bucks' first-round series shakes out, Mirotic would theoretically be returning for the end of the first round or the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Mirotic's injury makes him the second significant player in the Bucks' rotation to go down with an injury lately. Guard Malcolm Brogdon was ruled out indefinitely last week with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot. Most estimates have Brogdon returning to the lineup in the next six to eight weeks.
In 14 games with the Bucks this season, Mirotic is averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists while making 35.6 percent of his 3-poiners. In 64 games this season, Brogdon is averaging a career-high 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 28.6 minutes per game, while shooting career bests in field goal percentage (.505) and 3-point percentage (.426). Mirotic had recently replaced Brogdon in the starting lineup, filling that role in Milwaukee's last two games.
DJ Wilson, who had played well this season but lost playing time after Mirotic and Pau Gasol were added, should see an uptick in minutes now that Mirotic will be out.
The Bucks are 53-18 and have been the best team in the Eastern Conference all season. Milwaukee has a three-game lead over the Toronto Raptors for the No. 1 seed and has 10 games left to play this season. Six of those remaining games are against teams with a .500 record or better.
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