Giannis Antetokounmpo update spells trouble for Bucks ahead of Game 1 against Pacers

Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

After a chaotic Sunday, the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, outside of the Play-In Tournament results, was set in stone, with the Milwaukee Bucks drawing the Indiana Pacers.

There will be plenty of storylines heading into this matchup, given all of the tension between these two teams this season, but none will be more important than the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is currently dealing with a calf strain. His status has been uncertain for quite some time, but an update courtesy of The Athletic's Shams Charania has come to provide some answers.

The insider says that while Antetokounmpo is receiving daily treatment, his status for the opening game of the series is in "real doubt." The Milwaukee Bucks could very well kick off their title quest with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the sidelines.

Giannis Antetokounmpo update spells trouble for Bucks ahead of Game 1 against Pacers

This news isn't overly surprising. A calf strain is nothing to mess with, and the Bucks certainly do not want to rush Antetokounmpo back to risk a more significant injury. Though he has a freakish healing ability, as he displayed in Milwaukee's 2021 title run after coming back from a nasty leg injury, Giannis has to play it careful here.

Speaking of 2021, the Milwaukee Bucks have proven that they can win on the big stage without their superstar in Giannis before. They took down the Atlanta Hawks in Games 5 and 6 of the East Finals to cement a berth in the NBA Finals. That was a different team, of course, but the Bucks may have to dig deep and conjure some of that magic once again, at least to start.

Above all else, if he does miss time, Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton will have to shoulder more of the responsibility. They are the other two components of the Big 3, and they have the chops to hold things down for the time being, despite their recent struggles.

All eyes will also be on Bobby Portis and Patrick Beverley. Portis will see extra minutes with Giannis out of the frontcourt equation, and they will need his size and scoring. Beverley will need to provide his trademark defense against the likes of Tyrese Haliburton and T.J. McConnell, slowing them down as much as possible. These two role players could swing a series for the Milwaukee Bucks.

For now, all fans can do is play the situation by ear and get ready for Sunday. Rest up, Giannis.

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.