Is Giannis Antetokounmpo Playing in Game 2? Latest Updates on Back Injury vs Heat
One of several big-name players hurt during the opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs was Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time MVP was forced to leave Milwaukee's clash against the Miami Heat on Sunday with a back injury in the first half and did not return.
Now fans are anxiously awaiting an update on Antetokounmpo's status, especially after the Bucks lost the series opener without him. Here's the latest on the situation.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Game 2 Injury Update
Antetokounmpo had an X-ray on his back Sunday which came back "clear," according to head coach Mike Budenholzer. The good news doesn't stop there, however, as The Athletic's Shams Charania reports there's "optimism" the Greek Freak is able to play in Game 2.
Charania says Antetokounmpo's back issue is only about "pain tolerance" at this point. The insider added the Bucks wanted to "play it safe" with the seven-time All-Star by sidelining him in Game 1.
This is about the best news Milwaukee could get. The problem isn't severe enough that it requires Antetokounmpo to sit, and a fierce competitor like the former Final MVP isn't going to let a little pain keep him off of the floor.
Game 1 made it clear the Bucks won't be able to coast if Giannis is out. Miami came out firing to open the series, taking a double-digit lead into halftime and never relenting down the stretch. Milwaukee, meanwhile, looked flat even when Antetokounmpo was on the floor. A repeat of that performance could see the Bucks get into an early 2-0 hole before heading on the road.
Antetokounmpo's health now creates an even bigger upset opportunity for the Heat. A dynamic force like Jimmy Butler will make sure he seizes on this moment, so the Bucks' supporting cast needs to rise to the occasion and support a potentially hobbled Greek Freak in Game 2.
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