Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo injury status in doubt for Game 1 vs. Pacers

Giannis Antetokounmpo could be in danger of missing the start of the Bucks’ first-round series against the Pacers.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is heading into the NBA playoffs with a calf injury that kept him out of the final three games of the regular season. While the team was hopeful that he would be able to progressively work his way back to full speed rather quickly, things are not looking good as Milwaukee prepares for the Indiana Pacers. In fact, there is serious doubt surrounding Antetokounmpo’s availability for Game 1 against the Pacers on Sunday despite rehabbing this calf injury daily, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Without Antetokounmpo on the court, the Bucks lost two of their final three games and fell to the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference on the final day of the regular season after losing 113-88 on the road against the Orlando Magic.

The Bucks’ overall offensive production and their defensive rating drop when Giannis isn’t on the court, which is concerning seeing as they are set to take on the Pacers, who led the league in scoring offense this season. The Pacers have also been one of the only teams to consistently beat up on the Bucks, as Indiana won four of their five meetings this season, including knocking Milwaukee out of the NBA In-Season Tournament in December.

On April 9 against the Boston Celtics, Giannis suffered a non-contact left calf injury and left the arena immediately to have imaging done. His MRI results came back clean in terms of his Achilles tendon being intact, but he was dealing with a left calf strain. At the time, the Bucks said he would be listed as game-to-game and return to basketball activities based on his response to treatment.

Latest on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s injury

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) sits on the bench with a calf injury in the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Fiserv Forum.Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
At this time, very little has been revealed about Antetokounmpo’s injury. The Bucks have said Giannis is dealing with a “left soleus strain,” which is one of the main muscles that makes up the calf. His return to play remains a major question mark, as Antetokounmpo has been held out of full on-court activities over the last week since the injury occurred.

Many have pointed out that Giannis’ mysterious calf injury is somewhat similar to the injury superstar forward Kevin Durant suffered during the 2019 playoffs when he was with the Golden State Warriors. Durant, who has held out weeks with what the team called a “calf strain,” returned in the 2019 NBA Finals for the Warriors and went on to tear his Achilles. This is something NBA Hall of Famer and TNT’s Charles Barkley claims he is concerned about.

“It’s scary,” Barkley commented. “I think when Kevin Durant had the same injury, he was out a month and blew out his Achilles in the first game back… Kevin sat out a month and came back and got hurt in the first game back with that calf injury.”

There is certainly a level of concern within the Bucks organization surrounding Giannis’ status, but the team remains of the mindset that he will be available to play during this first-round series against the Pacers. Regarding Game 1 on Sunday,it appears more likely than not that the two-time MVP will be coaching his team from the sidelines instead of being on the court.

The team will provide further details on Antetokounmpo’s injury when he is prepared to return.

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