MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will not play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday due to his hyperextended left knee, the team announced Thursday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is out (left knee hyperextended) for Game 5 tonight. pic.twitter.com/AukUvfi7SU
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 1, 2021
The Bucks announced on Wednesday that Antetokounmpo, a two-time former Kia MVP winner, hyperextended his left knee in the third quarter of a 110-88 Game 4 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. The Bucks announced Wednesday that an MRI confirmed the diagnosis and said he would be listed as a doubt for Thursday’s game.
“We’re just going to take it day by day and see how he does,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
“When you talk about the possibilities, I think where this has landed should be seen as a positive,” Budenholzer added. “It’s still a very difficult fall.”
The Hawks have their own injury problems.
Star guard Trae Young missed Game 4 with a bone bruise on his right leg, and center Clint Capela had inflammation in his right eye after hitting an elbow in the face late in the game. Both players are listed as questionable on the 13:30 NBA injury report.
Antetokounmpo attempted to block a dunk attempt by Clint Capela of Atlanta when he landed awkwardly. He clutched his knee in obvious pain and remained lying down for a few minutes before walking slowly into the locker room.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has a left knee hyperextension and will be a doubt for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals tomorrow night at the Fiserv Forum. pic.twitter.com/mDGsTRpOVL
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 30, 2021
He briefly returned to the Bucks bench and then returned to the locker room shortly after.
The Bucks and Hawks have drawn two games each in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Game 5 on Thursday in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo averaged 28.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in the postseason. Milwaukee are 6-5 in the 11 regular-season games that Antetokounmpo has missed, including six in a row in April when he also picked up a left knee injury.
“Guys got a chance to get ahead,” Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said after Game 4. “Guys got a chance to make a big game and on the biggest stage. I feel like us playing without him has given us a rhythm and knowing what it’s like, made some adjustments that will be made. But in the end, we prefer to play with him.”
This is the second year in a row Antetokounmpo has suffered an injury during the postseason.
In 2020, the Bucks were already trailing Miami 3-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals when Antetokounmpo sprained his ankle in Game 4, knocking him out for the remainder of the series. The Bucks won Game 4 through extra time, but a loss in Game 5 saw them crash out.
Information from The Associated Press is used in this report.