Will Giannis Antetokounmpo be able to play Tuesday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals?
What about Game 2? Game 3?
The biggest question mark heading into the 2021 NBA Finals is will two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo play? If so, when? There is no official timeline (or even detailing of his injury). He missed the last couple of games of the Eastern Conference Finals after a gruesome hyperextension of his left knee, and coach Mike Budenholzer described his status as day-to-day.
“You have to listen to the player and then you have to listen to the sports performance group, and at some point [Bucks GM] Jon Horst and myself are part of the conversations, but it’s just a day-to-day thing,” Budenholzer said after the Bucks advanced to the Finals. “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.”
Budenholzer confirmed Antetokounmpo had done some on-court work prior to Game 6, the first on-court work he had done since the injury. Budenholzer added Antetokounmpo was “dying to be out there” the past couple of games. There had been reports that if the Eastern Conference Finals had gone seven games, he would have played.
In his absence, Olympian Khris Middleton stepped up with monster games to get the Bucks onto the Finals stage for the first time since Paul McCartney and Wings topped the charts with “Band on the Run,” and Blazing Saddles was in theaters.
However, if the Bucks are going to beat a red hot and rested Suns team, they will need Antetokounmpo — and the advantages he provides on both ends of the court — to get it done.