The Milwaukee Bucks held on for a Game 6 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night, and have now advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. There, they’ll face the Phoenix Suns, with Game 1 set for Tuesday night. Whether Giannis Antetokounmpo will be on the court for that game, or any part of the series for that matter, is still unclear.
The two-time MVP suffered a hyperextended left knee in Game 4 against the Hawks, and though he avoided any structural damage, he hasn’t played since.
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.
Earlier in the 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. If true, that bodes well for the Bucks considering there’s even more time off until Game 1 of the Finals.
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.
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.
Courtesy: CBS Sports