This is both excellent news and a little vague.
An MRI confirmed Giannis Antetokounmpo did suffer a hyperextended left knee during Game 4, the Bucks announced. The team has listed Antetokounmpo as doubtful for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo sustained a hyperextended left knee and will be listed as doubtful for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals tomorrow night at Fiserv Forum. pic.twitter.com/mDGsTRpOVL
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 30, 2021
This is vague because hyperextension is not an injury, it is what happened to the knee — it was forced beyond its normal range of motion — and that can lead to a number of structural and muscular injuries. Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN provided more detail, saying that there was no structural damage to Antetokounmpo’s knee, but added there is no timeline for his return.
There is no structural damage to Giannis Antetokounmpo's left knee after his awkward landing last night in Atlanta; ligaments are sound, sources tell @wojespn and I. Timetable to return is unclear.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 30, 2021
The good news from all these reports: there is no ACL damage, as had been feared. It also means recovery from the injury is apparently not going to bleed into next season, which was a big concern for Milwaukee.
The most likely injury outcome is at least a bone bruise in his knee, something common to hyperextensions and mentioned by Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes. If that is the case, it’s highly unlikely Antetokounmpo would return during the Eastern Conference Finals and he likely would miss the NBA Finals, should the Bucks advance.
Things could be better or worse than that, the vague timeline provided by the report allows for a lot of speculation (similar to the Kawhi Leonard situation with the Clippers). But at least the MRI and reports take the worst-case scenarios off the table.
The Hawks went on a 12-0 run not long after Antetokounmpo left Game 4 with the knee injury and pushed their lead up to 20, taking control and running away with the Game 4 win. Game 5 is set for Thursday night in Milwaukee, and it is unlikely that Antetokounmpo will play, although that is not official.
The status of the Hawks’ Trae Young, who missed Game 4 with a bone bruise in his foot, is also unknown heading into Thursday night’s critical showdown.