The Milwaukee Bucks entered the NBA playoffs as one of the favorites to take home an NBA championship.
Milwaukee had the best record in the league in the regular season at 58-24. That gave the Bucks the top seed in the Eastern Conference, meaning they’ll avoid the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers until at least the Eastern Conference Finals.
With NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leading fellow stars Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, there were plenty of reasons for optimism in the Cream City.
But that all came crashing down when the Bucks saw their worst fears play out in Game 1 against the Miami Heat.
Antetokounmpo was forced to leave the game after a hard fall while going up for a dunk in the first quarter. He did not return and Miami went on to win the game, 130-117.
The Bucks remained favored in the series. But all the attention suddenly switched to Antetokounmpo’s health status. If he was to remain out long-term, Milwaukee could be in trouble.
Thankfully for Bucks fans, it appears that won’t be the case.
There is optimism surrounding Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (back) availability for Game 2 vs. Miami on Wednesday, sources say. From Run It Back on @FanDuelTV: pic.twitter.com/E6GpFdxjaC
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 17, 2023
Shams Charania of The Atheltic went on FanDuelTV on Monday and said that the Bucks are optimistic that Giannis will return for Game 2 on Wednesday.
“I’m told that there is optimism about his availability for Game 2,” Charania said. “It’s believed to be a pain tolerance issue that he’s got in his lower back and the team wanted to play it safe. He came out. He landed real hard on his back, then he tried to come back into the game and he just felt discomfort. He didn’t look like himself and he really couldn’t even walk like himself.
“So they took him to the back. X-rays were negative. I expect him to be re-evaluated again today. But this is something that even if he plays in Game 2, I’m told that this is something that he’s going to be battling.”
Charania also revealed that Antetokounmpo is also dealing with a separate injury.
“He’s got a ligament issue in his wrist as well from what I’m told,” he said. “So he’s got a couple of these little nagging injuries that are going to play a part…”
So on one hand, that’s good news for Bucks fans. On the other, it doesn’t sound great for Bucks’ superstar.