Giannis Antetokounmpo injury update: Bucks star getting MRI on calf, reportedly avoids Achilles injury

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MILWAUKEE — Late in the third quarter of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ 104-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo left the game and did not return with what the team described as a left calf strain. Antetokounmpo’s status moving forward remains unclear. Bucks head coach Doc Rivers said Antetokounmpo will get an MRI on his left leg to determine the severity of the injury. 

“[The concern level is] high, I would say that,” Rivers said. “He’s Giannis. I think everyone probably feels the same way as I do right now. So, we’re just gonna hope for the best.” 

On Wednesday morning, Shams Charania reported Antetokounmpo avoided Achilles damage in his left leg and his return to play will be based off how he responds to treatment.

The Bucks have not yet provided an official update on their superstar.

“Any time you see one of your teammates go down, it’s a real level of concern,” Lillard said. “You know, we spend a lot of time around each other, more than we would our families. I think that was the No. 1 thing, and then for it to be your best player, the most important part of our team, at this point in our season — it was like an ‘oh shit’ moment. Especially because there was nobody else around. I was right next to him, so I just saw his facial expression, so obviously I got scared.”

With just under four minutes to play in the third, Celtics guard Derrick White knocked down a 3-pointer. After inbounding the ball to Damian Lillard, Antetokounmpo began running up the court and suddenly collapsed. 

Antetokounmpo immediately grabbed his calf and remained on the ground under the care of the Bucks’ medical staff. He eventually got to his feet and was helped off the court by teammates. Cameras in the tunnel showed him walking toward the locker room under his own power, but with a significant limp. 

Antetokounmpo has only missed six games this season, but has been battling nagging injuries in recent weeks. He most recently sat out on April 5 against the Toronto Raptors due to left hamstring tendinopathy and had been listed as probable for Tuesday’s game due to the same issue. 

How long Antetokounmpo will remain sidelined remains to be seen. While no two players experience or recover from an injury in the same way, Lillard suffered a strained soleus — the specific calf muscle Antetokounmpo pulled — during the 2022-23 season. Postgame, Lillard said he was out for two weeks. 

“That shit hurt,” Lillard said of the injury. “Usually I’m able to walk things off. I feel like I have a high pain tolerance, and when I did it, I started to walk, it wasn’t just that it was that painful, it was that the muscle just can’t handle it. So, I think once it calmed down, you kind of figured out a way to limp around it, but it’s a weird feeling.” 

The Bucks have already clinched a spot in the playoffs, though their seed is yet to be determined. After the win over the Celtics, they are 48-31 on the season and hold a 1.5-game lead on the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The playoffs are scheduled to begin on April 20, but the Bucks’ opening series may not get underway until April 21 depending on the schedule. 

Until Antetokounmpo returns, whenever that may be, Khris Middleton said it will take a “collective effort” to win games. 

“Just encourage him to get right, don’t rush and risk more injury and make it worse,” Middleton said. “On our end, we just have to find a way to fill the gap together. Not one guy’s gonna replace somebody like that.” 

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