Giannis Antetokounmpo is ‘completely, totally healthy’ ahead of 2019-20 season restart

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

As Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer discussed in an ESPN interview, superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is confirmed to be completely healthy ahead of the NBA season restarting.

The NBA’s efforts to restart the 2019-20 season will likely culminate next month. For the Milwaukee Bucks, that means reviving their championship pursuit and with their superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, back on the floor.

When we last saw Antetokounmpo on a basketball court, he had suffered a nasty fall late into the Bucks’ 113-103 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers back on March 6. The injury was later deemed to be a minor joint capsule sprain in his left knee and the reigning MVP missed the two following Bucks games before the season suspension went into full effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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In speaking to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan Tuesday, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed that he has regained a clean bill of health from his knee injury:

"“It’s a huge advantage for us that Giannis will be completely and totally healthy,” Budenholzer tells ESPN. “He’s in a great place, both mentally and physically.”"

Of course, the start of what will be a four-month layoff left Antetokounmpo with no choice but to focus on healing from his knee injury at the time of the NBA’s hiatus being implemented.

The forced time off has allowed Giannis Antetokounmpo to heal, and prevented what could have been a big issue for the Milwaukee Bucks.

And as Budenholzer discussed with MacMullan, the timing of Antetokounmpo’s injury could have potentially been a thorny issue for the Bucks as they had geared up for their playoff push if things had gone as planned:

"“Who’s to say how things would have gone if we kept on playing? I’m not sure it would be safe to say [Giannis] would have missed a couple of weeks. Could it have been less? Maybe. Could it have been more? Perhaps. We can look back a bit and say, ‘Wow, I wonder what would have happened there.’“But the great thing is he’s healthy now. Giannis is so tough, and he heals so quickly, and he would have felt pressure to come back sooner. [The pressure] wouldn’t have come from us — it’s all self-induced with Giannis. One of our hardest jobs would have been to hold him back.”"

While Antetokounmpo’s knee injury looks to be behind him, that doesn’t mean his health, and the health of all Bucks players for that matter, going into Orlando won’t just go away with the snap of a finger.

That’s especially relevant as the NBA looks to go full speed ahead in the midst of a global pandemic and are soon bound for Orlando and Walt Disney World in Florida, a state that has seen a concerning surge of an infections over the last week. Add in players that had limited access to fitness equipment for a couple of months with the number of lockdowns in place around the country and will soon suddenly be thrust into playing high-level competition in the coming weeks.

The topic of player health is essentially two-fold and we’re just starting to see players on NBA teams that are included in the season restart in Orlando record positive tests. Soon enough, nagging soft tissue injuries will very likely soon to follow. And God forbid, we see a player suffers a significant injury that alters their career when all systems are go.

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For now, Antetokounmpo’s knee injury looks to be a thing of the past, but as the Bucks look to ramp up back into their rhythm, the topic of the health of all players will be on the minds of many during these unprecedented circumstances.