Giannis Antetokounmpo sustained a hyperextension of his left knee and was forced out of the Bucks’ Eastern Conference finals game against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
“It’s not good,” Bucks forward P.J. Tucker said. “It’s not good losing anybody on your team and losing your best player stinks.”
Although The Hawks won 110-88, evening the best-of-seven series at 2-2. Antetokounmpo’s status for Game 5 at Milwaukee on Thursday night is not known.
However, Antetokounmpo was defending a jam by Hawks center Clint Capela with 7:14 remaining in the third quarter when his left knee appeared to buckle. He fell to the floor in obvious pain, grimacing and clutching his knee.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said the team would learn more about Antetokounmpo’s status on Wednesday.
“We’ll take everything as it comes,” Budenholzer said. “We’ll evaluate it. We’ve got a heck of a team, a heck of a roster. The guys will prepare. They’ll be ready.”
Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo remained down for several minutes before rising and slowly walking to the locker room. He was supported by his brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and a staff member, as he left the court. It was a scary sight – and sound – for the Bucks.
“I heard him yell,” Khris Middleton said. Added Jrue Holiday: “I think just based on how he was grabbing his leg, it seemed like it was pretty bad.”
Antetokounmpo returned to the bench briefly before again heading to the locker room after the Hawks blew open the game by extending their lead to 20 points. Soon after, the Bucks announced he would not return.
“I don’t want to speak for him,” Budenholzer said when asked what Antetokounmpo told his teammates when he briefly returned to the bench. “I know historically it’s impossible to keep him off the court, keep him away from his teammates. My guess is he wants to play and, if not, let his teammates know that he’s there for them.”