Let’s hope this is not as bad as it looked.
Bucks’ star and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had to be helped off the court and limped back to the locker room — although part of the way under his own power — after a gruesome hyperextension of his left knee.
The injury occurred in the third quarter of Game 4, a game without Hawks’ star Trae Young due to a bone bruise on his foot. Antetokounmpo went up to attempt to block an alley-oop pass to Atlanta’s Clint Capela, they collided mid-air, Antetokounmpo came down wrong and his left knee bent backward. (The video is above, but I do not recommend pushing play it if you are the least bit squeamish, this is hard to watch.)
Antetokounmpo returned briefly to the Bucks bench, but the Milwaukee trainers and coaching staff thought better of putting him back out on the court.
Antetokounmpo went back to the locker room under his own power but with a noticeable limp. He will not return.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (left knee hyperextension) will not return tonight.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 30, 2021
The Hawks went on a 12-0 run soon after Antetokounmpo left the game, pushing Atlanta’s lead up to 20.
A hyperextension means a joint bent the wrong direction beyond its normal range of motion (which this did, disturbingly so). However, how much damage there may be to ligaments, muscles, or the knee structure can vary widely. It will require an MRI to see exactly what happened with Antetokounmpo’s left knee.
This has been an NBA postseason ravaged by injuries, from Anthony Davis in the first round through Kawhi Leonard and now Young in conference Finals. LeBron James publicly, and other players privately, have questioned how much the condensed schedule of this season and playoffs have contributed to that. However, this injury to Antetokounmpo was more of a fluke play due to mid-air contact than anything else.
This story will be updated as we get more information.