Will Giannis Antetokounmpo be able to play in the FIBA World Cup after undergoing knee surgery?
Following what was a disappointing campaign, the Bucks, their star, and his national team will now sweat on his status after he went under the knife.
With the former MVP now set to be sidelined as he recovers from a recent operation, one has to wonder how it will affect his participation in the upcoming FIBA World Cup with the Greek national team. For the moment there’s been no word on whether he will be available.
Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo undergoes knee surgery
According to reports, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is now a doubt for the FIBA World Cup which will begin on August 25th and run into September. It’s understood that Giannis underwent a ‘cleanup’ procedure on his knee about two weeks ago and is now in the process of recovery.
The news is unfortunately the latest confirmation of physical problems that the star has experienced in recent months. You may recall that Antetokounmpo suffered a back injury in Game 1 of the Bucks’ first-round series of the playoffs against the Miami Heat, and was subsequently forced to sit out Games 2 and 3. Of course, he would eventually return for Games 4 and 5 but it was a case of too little too late as the Bucks bowed out to Heat who would go all the way to the NBA Finals. This is not to say that this most recent operation is related, however, it stands to reason that he hasn’t been having the best of times lately. He returned for Game 4, but the Bucks lost Games 4 and 5 and were upset in the first round by a Heat team that would eventually reach the NBA Finals.
Giannis’ absence would be a huge blow for Greece
There is no way to overstate the importance of Antetokounmpo’s presence for Greece. Indeed, if they are to make any strides in the tournament, it will require that he is fully fit and ready to go. Consider for a moment that along with his brother Thanasis, Giannis was the only other active NBA player on Greece’s roster. That’s to say that without him, the nation has no other star to call on. This is even more serious when considering the fact that World Cup performance for any participating nation, determines qualification for the Olympics, something Greece hasn’t achieved since 2008.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how all parties navigate this situation, with Antetokounmpo now eligible for a contract extension later this offseason. One has to believe that the Bucks will offer the two-time MVP a max deal whether he’s injured or not. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if you see him opt out of playing in the World Cup given that there are other paths that lead to the Olympics in the coming year.