Giannis Antetokounmpo (born December 6, 1994) is a Greek-Nigerian professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Antetokounmpo’s country of origin, in addition to his size, speed, strength, and ball-handling skills have earned him the nickname “Greek Freak”.
How will Giannis Antetokounmpo’s injury affect the upcoming games?
UPDATE (Apr. 26):
Giannis Antetokounmpo played in Game 4 after missing the previous two games due to a lower back injury sustained early in Game 1.
Despite hints of pain, the superstar forward played 38 minutes and should not be limited if he is upgraded to availability Wednesday.
UPDATE (Apr. 24):
Antetokounmpo (back) is categorized as questionable for Game 4 on Monday.
The designation isn’t surprising given Antetokounmpo’s absence from Game 3 on Saturday, his second straight absence after collapsing on his lower back in Game 1 of the series.
According to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, Antetokounmpo performed some individual work at Sunday’s practice, but the team has been relatively tight-lipped about his overall progress.
As of Sunday evening, Antetokounmpo’s status remained uncertain, but with Milwaukee behind the series 2-1, there may be more incentive for Antetokounmpo to push through any residual soreness.
UPDATE (Apr. 19):
Giannis Antetokounmpo (back) is questionable for Game 2 against the Heat.
Antetokounmpo is expected to miss Wednesday’s game due to a lower back contusion sustained in Game 1 on a hard fall.
If Antetokounmpo is ultimately ruled out, Jae Crowder, Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, and Joe Ingles are all candidates to fill in.
Even if Giannis gives it a shot, he won’t be nearly as effective as he has been all season.
UPDATE (Apr. 18):
Shams Charania provided the first: “There is optimism surrounding Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (back) availability for Game 2 vs. Miami on Wednesday, sources say.”
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 17, 2023
UPDATE (Apr. 17):
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo’s back X-rays were “clear,” but his status for Game 2 is still unknown.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer says Giannis Antetokounmpo had an X-ray that came back "clear"
"We’ll monitor him and see how he wakes up tomorrow"
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) April 17, 2023
Milwaukee Bucks fans did not want to see this in the first quarter of the team’s first playoff game: two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo writhing on the court in pain.
At the 4:13 mark of the first quarter on Sunday at Fiserv Forum, Miami Heat defender Kevin Love attempted to draw an offensive foul after driving into the paint. Love was called for the foul, but Antetokounmpo was clearly in pain after an awkward foul on his lower back.
He lay motionless on the ground for a few seconds, face down, favoring his back, before being picked up by his teammates.
Giannis with a scary fall 😳
Fortunately, he's ok 🙏 pic.twitter.com/QaShNkKoUi
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 16, 2023
Antetokounmpo stayed in the game and even hit a tough layup before exiting with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter. He entered the arena’s back entrance.
Antetokounmpo returned to the bench in the second quarter and entered the game at 9:46.
However, he was only able to play for a few minutes before being replaced by Jae Crowder. Antetokounmpo went back to the locker room, and the team ruled him out with a lower back contusion a few minutes later.