Bucks Decide Playoff Fate for Giannis Antetokounmpo Post-Injury Assessment

Bucks face tough playoffs start without key player Giannis.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Bucks Decide Playoff Fate for Giannis Antetokounmpo Post-Injury Assessment
© Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As the NBA Playoffs loom, the Milwaukee Bucks face an uphill battle without their star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is sidelined due to a calf injury sustained in a recent game against the Boston Celtics. The 29-year-old forward, pivotal in Milwaukee’s strategic plays, experienced the setback during a 104-91 victory that precipitated his absence in the final trio of regular season matches.

This untimely injury led to a noticeable dip in the team's performance, evidenced by Milwaukee's successive losses against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Orlando Magic, by margins that highlighted their struggle without Antetokounmpo.

These defeats ultimately cost the Bucks the second seed in the Eastern Conference, ceding it to the New York Knicks. Looking ahead, the Bucks now brace for a challenging first-round series against the Indiana Pacers, the sixth seed.

This matchup is particularly daunting given Milwaukee’s recent track record against the Pacers, which includes four losses in five encounters this season, one of which was a critical In-Season Tournament game.

Giannis' Playoff Uncertainty

Antetokounmpo’s absence is keenly felt as the team navigates this precarious phase.

ESPN reports suggest that the Bucks will commence their playoff journey without the two-time NBA MVP, who continues to undergo intensive treatment for his left calf in hopes of a playoff return. The severity of the injury became apparent when Antetokounmpo collapsed unassisted during the Celtics game, sparking widespread concern among fans and teammates alike.

The gravity of the situation was echoed by Bucks’ head coach Doc Rivers, who expressed significant concern post-injury. “Well, that’s a good question,” Rivers responded when asked about his level of worry, later adding a light-hearted note, “But, you know, he's Giannis,” acknowledging the star’s resilience.

In a statement following the incident, the Bucks confirmed the diagnosis of a left soleus strain via MRI and outlined Antetokounmpo's recovery plan which sidelined him for the remaining regular season games with ongoing daily treatments.

Antetokounmpo, a towering figure in basketball, is more than just a player to the Bucks. His accolades, including the NBA Finals MVP title from Milwaukee’s 2021 championship victory—their first in 50 years—and his eight consecutive All-Star appearances, underscore his influence.

His ambitions resonate beyond individual accolades, as he expressed a desire to "create new memories and win another championship," in a recent interview with the New York Times. As the Bucks proceed without their key player, the road ahead in the NBA Playoffs is fraught with uncertainty, but the team remains hopeful that their star forward will return to the court soon, ready to help them chase another championship title.

Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo