Middleton, who had a procedure in July to repair torn ligaments, returns with the Bucks (15-5) holding onto second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Boston Celtics (18-4).
"I feel fresh for the most part, but as far as rust, I know that's still probably going to be there,'' Middleton, who is listed as probable, said after Friday morning's shootaround. "So even though I'll try to shake as much of that as you can off, it's hard to simulate an NBA basketball game. The style's just different. The tempo's different. The rhythm, everything involved. Hopefully I adjust quickly. I'll lean on my teammates a lot to help me through.''
Middleton, 31, hasn't played since an MCL sprain in Game 2 of the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs ended his 2021-2022 season. Without Middleton, the Celtics defeated the Bucks in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"Maybe [been out] a little bit longer than I expected, but things happen sometimes in life where you've just got to adjust and adapt and deal with it,'' Middleton said. "I'm just glad that I am back tonight rather than a couple more weeks later.''
Middleton made his third All-Star appearance a season ago when he averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists.