Greek NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo’s knee injury is less serious than previously feared, according to medical scans he received on Wednesday. MRI results indicate that the structure of the star’s knee is good, with no major damage to the joints or ligaments.
The Milwaukee Bucks lost Game Four of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday when the “Greek Freak” suffered a knee injury and could not play for the remainder of the game.
Just before the end of the third quarter in Game Four, Antetokounmpo jumped to defend against a prospective alley-oop from the Hawks’ John Collins to Clint Capela. He landed awkwardly on his left foot, and immediately fell to the court in a visibly agonized state.
“It just looked like their legs got tangled up,” said the Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer on Tuesday night “They both landed awkwardly. That’s what I saw live. I haven’t seen anything else.”
The Bucks entered the night with a 2-1 series lead. Atlanta held a 62-52 lead when Antetokounmpo left the game and went on to secure a 110-88 win to tie the series at 2-2.
The series returns to Milwaukee for Game 5 on Thursday. Antetokounmpo’s status for that game and beyond are still in doubt despite hearing reassuring news about his left knee.
Antetokounmpo’s impact on Greece and Milwuakee teams
The two-time NBA MVP is also hoping to represent Greece in the upcoming Olympic Games, his agent said on Friday.
“His goal is to be at Tokyo,” Giorgos Panou, his long-time agent mentioned in an interview with Greek public television, “Whenever he can be available and healthy, he will play for the National Team.”
Greece holds a chance to book the trip to Tokyo through the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, Canada. The top-ranking country out of the six-team tournament will complete Group A of the Olympic tournament preliminary round with the USA, France, and Iran waiting for their third opponent.
The Milwaukee Bucks are also tentative and hopeful about Antetokounmpo’s injury, and were caught off guard by the whirlwind of events leading to his fall yesterday: “We just thought we were going to walk in and win the game,” the Bucks’ forward P.J. Tucker said. “We didn’t do anything to show that we wanted to win this game tonight. We were flat, and our guy’s injury was just another piece of the puzzle to us losing.”
Budenholzer was optimistic about the results of the MRI but cautious about whether Antetokounmpo will return: “When you talk about the range of possibilities, I think where this has landed has to be looked at as a positive. It’s still a really difficult fall.”