The Philadelphia 76ers' bench has been struggling lately. It's hard to pin all of their problems on the absence of the backup guard Shake Milton, as the struggles started while he was still playing. However, the Sixers still have a much better bench unit when Milton is on the floor rather than when he's not.
Nearly two weeks ago, Milton left the first game of the four-game road trip out West with an injured ankle. During the fourth quarter of the game against the Sacramento Kings, Milton rolled his ankle and ended up spraining it.
The following game, he was listed as questionable before eventually getting ruled out against the Portland Trail Blazers. Then, the Sixers didn't hesitate to rule Milton out of last Saturday's matchup against the Phoenix Suns.
At that point, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers made it clear that Milton was going to miss the rest of the road trip, which included another game on Monday against the Utah Jazz. While the Sixers were hopeful of getting Milton back by Wednesday when they take on the Houston Rockets -- the team doubted his status, and he ended up not playing. And the same went for the Friday night game against the Chicago Bulls.
Milton has missed the last five games for the 76ers. The streak is expected to finally snap on Sunday night as the Sixers take on the Toronto Raptors down in Tampa. While Milton's return cannot be guaranteed this early, he is listed as probable on the injury report. Considering he's been working out and scrimmaging in practice, it would take an unexpected setback to keep him out of Sunday's game.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_