The NBA Playoffs kicked off in a terrible way for the Milwaukee Bucks after superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo exited Game 1 with a back contusion.
After the loss to the Miami Heat, Coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters that Antetokounmpo had an X-ray, which came back clean. Budenholzer said that the Bucks would see how the Greek Freak feels moving forward, and there has been a positive update as of this morning. Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, there is optimism that Giannis will be available for Wednesday’s Game 3. The insider added that Antetokounmpo is indeed dealing with discomfort not just in his back but also his wrist, which has been known for quite some time now, but intends to push through.
NBA insider provides optimistic update on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s status
This is excellent news because it means that Antetokounmpo is likely already feeling better even if there is some lingering discomfort that can only get better with time. The Greek Freak has always been one to tough it out, and he is likely going to do it once again here. It helps that the Bucks have two full days off before Game 2, giving Antetokounmpo more time to rehab and heal.
For now, the Bucks will have to practice and look back on what went wrong in Game 1 to prepare for Game 2. Having Antetokounmpo for more than 11 minutes would undoubtedly help, but there will be more to it than that. The Bucks find themselves in a 0-1 hole to start the playoffs, which is not unfamiliar territory in recent memory. Under Coach Budenholzer, the Bucks are 5-7 in playoff Game 1s, so this is something the team is capable of bouncing back from.
With this injury lingering, pieces like Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and several of the team’s role players must step up to alleviate some of the workload off of Antetokounmpo moving forward. It all starts with the Bucks starting the game off with more intensity on both ends of the ball.
Stay tuned for a crucial Game 2 showdown between the Bucks and Heat this coming Wednesday. Hopefully Antetokounmpo will be back on the court and healthy for that pivotal matchup as the Bucks aim to even up the series.