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Giannis Antetokounmpo injury update: Will he play in game 2 against the Heat?

In the first-round playoff series, the Milwaukee Bucks faced a setback in Game 1 against the Heat and lost their leader, Giannis Antetokounmpo, to injury.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34)
Joe CamporealeUSA TODAY Sports

During the Milwaukee Bucks’ Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat in the first-round playoff series, their star player Giannis Antetokounmpo had to exit the game due to a lower back contusion. Fortunately, no structural damage was detected, but his availability for Game 2 and subsequent games will hinge on how his back responds to treatment and recovery.

Giannis Antetokounmpo injury

During the first quarter of the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo drove to the basket and was fouled by Kevin Love, resulting in a hard landing on his lower back. Despite continuing to play for another two minutes, he was eventually substituted with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter.

The Milwaukee Bucks later confirmed their star forward would not return to the game.

In the post-game press conference, head coach Mike Budenholzer informed the media that X-rays had returned negative. Still, the team would closely monitor Giannis’ condition and assess how he wakes up the following day.

There was an X-ray that was clear here, so we’ll monitor him, see how he does,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “See how he wakes up, how he feels the rest of tonight and tomorrow.

After Giannis Antetokounmpo exited the game, the Milwaukee Bucks trailed by eight points and struggled to regain momentum. Although they made a run in the third quarter, reducing the deficit to three points, they continued to face a double-digit deficit for a significant portion of the second half. As a result, the Bucks ultimately succumbed to a 13-point loss, unable to fully recover from Giannis’ absence.

NBA Playoffs:

Giannis Antetokounmpo showcased his MVP skills throughout the regular season, averaging 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. He was the sole player in the league to consistently achieve 30 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists per game. The impact of his presence was evident in the team’s record, with the Milwaukee Bucks boasting a 47-16 win-loss record when he played, in contrast to 11-8 when he was absent.

The Milwaukee Bucks are no stranger to playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo. He missed 19 games during the current season and suffered a hyperextended knee in the 2021 playoffs during the Eastern Conference finals. However, it’s undeniable that the team would prefer to have their two-time MVP on the court. Despite their experience in his absence, the team highly values Giannis’ presence and contributions, and they would undoubtedly prefer to have him available for their playoff games.