Nikola Mirotic injury update: Bucks forward out 2-4 weeks with fractured thumb as injuries hit East leaders at worst time

Up until just a few days ago, this season had been pretty much perfect for the Milwaukee Bucks. They opened a new arena with a new head coach, Giannis Antetokounmpo continued his rise to become a favorite for his first MVP award and they have the best record in the league. 

But now, as we head into the stretch run before the start of the playoffs, the Bucks have received a rude wake-up call from their dream campaign. First, their steady guard Malcolm Brogdon was ruled out for six to eight weeks with a plantar fascia tear, and now the man who replaced him in the starting lineup, Nikola Mirotic, has gone down with an injury of his own. 

The team announced on Wednesday morning that Mirotic has suffered a sprained and fractured thumb. 

Milwaukee Bucks forward Nikola Mirotic had an X-ray and subsequent examination of his left thumb today by team physician Dr. William Raasch at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. The exam revealed a sprained thumb and fracture.

Mirotic will be listed as out and his status will be updated as appropriate.

According to a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania, the injury is expected to keep Mirotic out for two to four weeks, which could impact his readiness for the start of the playoffs. 

The good news for the Bucks is the injury is on Mirotic's non-shooting hand, and even if he misses some of the first round of the playoffs, they should run whoever they face in that series out of the gym anyway. Plus, they have a fairly easy schedule down the stretch, which continues on Wednesday night with a matchup against the lowly Cavaliers (7 p.m. ET -- Watch on FuboTV with NBA League Pass add-on), and have all but locked up the No. 1 seed in the East. Up three games on the Toronto Raptors with just 11 games to play, and owning the tiebreaker between them, the Bucks would have to suffer a complete collapse to fall into second place. 

Still, even though these injuries don't spell disaster for the Bucks, this just isn't what the team needs heading into the playoffs. Ideally, the final few weeks of the season are when you want to focus on getting everyone as healthy as possible and building some positive momentum for the postseason. That obviously isn't happening in Milwaukee this season.

That doesn't mean the Bucks are doomed, nor does it preclude them from being the favorites in the East. It does, however, mean their path to their first Finals appearance since 1974 just became a bit more difficult. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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