UPDATE: His ACL appears safe. The Milwaukee Bucks released a statement saying Giannis Antetokounmpo had an MRI and it confirmed a hyperextension of the knee and that he is doubtful for Game 5.
Further reporting from ESPN said that there is no “structural damage” to the knee — meaning no ACL injury. That’s the good news. Of concern is that both the team statement and the report are low on details, meaning the kind of injury that would sideline Antetokounmpo the rest of the postseason — such as a bone bruise, which is very common with hyperextensions — is still on the table.
Giannis Antetokounmpo left the Bucks’ Game 4 loss to the Hawks last night with a nasty-looking knee injury.
How bad is it?
Farbod Esnaashari of Bleacher Report:
Sources: People within the Milwaukee Bucks organization fear that Giannis Antetokounmpo has suffered a severe ACL injury. However, no MRI has been done yet.
— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) June 30, 2021
That’d be devastating.
To Antetokounmpo. To Milwaukee. To anyone who wants to see a well-played NBA playoffs.
The Buck have a great opportunity to win a championship.
And they could still win without to Antetokounmpo. Which speaks to how shorthanded all the remaining teams are, because Antetokounmpo is obviously an excellent player.
Atlanta guard Trae Young also missed Game 4, though Atlanta pounded Milwaukee even before Antetokounmpo went down. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard remains out and there’s no expectation he’ll return this season. Suns guard Chris Paul hasn’t looked like himself since returning from coronavirus.
Really, with Paul merely rusty rather than out and holding a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals, Phoenix has become an even-stronger title favorite.
And then there are the already-eliminated All-Stars who missed games in the playoffs:
- Nets guard Kyrie Irving
- Nets guard James Harden
- Jazz guard Mike Conley
- Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell
- 76ers center Joel Embiid
- Lakers big Anthony Davis
- Celtics wing Jaylen Brown
That doesn’t even count Young (no, he wasn’t an All-Star) or Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.
Hopefully, Antetokounmpo’s injury isn’t as severe as feared. But there are only a few days left in the Eastern Conference finals and a few weeks left in the playoffs. Even a moderate injury could sideline Antetokounmpo the rest of the postseason.