Giannis Antetokounmpo knee injury: Bucks star uncertain for Finals opener, will fight hard to play, per report

As Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals approaches, the Milwaukee Bucks are still not sure if they’ll have Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup when they take on the Phoenix Suns. The two-time MVP suffered a hyperextended left knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks, and though he avoided any structural damage, he hasn’t played since.  

When the Bucks take the court for practice on Monday, Giannis will not be with the team. However, he spent the day going through an individual workout that was watched over by “an army of observers,” according to Jared Greenberg of NBA TV. “As of right now they are still unsure whether Giannis will be able to go,” Greenberg added. “But as it was described to me, Giannis is going to fight tooth and nail to be in the lineup.”

Following the series-clinching win over the Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters it’s a “day-to-day” situation. His full quote:

“I mean, [Giannis] and the sports performance team, they have been together a long time. It’s special to watch their relationship. It’s special to watch the communication, the trust that he has. You have to listen to the player and then you have to listen to the sports performance group, and at some point Jon Horst and myself are part of the conversations, but it’s just a day-to-day thing. We’ll update it when appropriate. The conversations between he and myself and he and the sports performance group, it’s kind of private and we’ll see where he is each day.

Last week, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that there was optimism Giannis would have been given the “green light” to play in Game 7 against the Hawks if the series had gotten that far. 

All told, it seems like things are progressing toward a Giannis return at some point in this series, but when or how much he’ll be able to play remains to be seen. If he is able to suit up, that would obviously be a huge boost to the Bucks’ chances of capturing their first title since 1971. 

The injury occurred in the third quarter of Game 4, when Giannis went up to block an alley-oop attempt by Clint Capela and landed awkwardly on his left leg. He remained down on the court for several moments after the fall, before being helped off the court by his brother, Thanasis, and the medical staff. After a brief return to the Bucks’ bench during the third quarter, he eventually made his way back to the locker room and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. 

You can see the play where the injury occurred below: 

The Bucks proved in Games 5 and 6 against the Hawks that they’re still a formidable team even without their best player. But as they prepare for their first Finals appearance in nearly 50 years, there’s no question they’d prefer to do so with Giannis on the court. 

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