The entire state of Wisconsin must have been holding its collective breath when Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo fell awkwardly on his left knee during Friday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Antetokounmpo drove the lane and landed on Avery Bradley of the Lakers as Antetokounmpo’s knee buckled as he writhed in pain underneath the basket.
Antetokounmpo’s teammates quickly surrounded the Bucks’ star who laid on the floor for a short time after the nasty fall. The Greek Freak, however, shook off the injury and remained in the game. Antetokounmpo finished with 32 points.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MRI reportedly precautionary
After the game, Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he thought Antetokounmpo was good enough to remain in the game after his fall. On Saturday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Antetokounmpo will undergo a precautionary MRI.
“We had a timeout and talked to him and talked to the medical [staff] and again, you have been around him. You do have to protect him from himself. I’m pretty confident he was OK to keep going.”
Although the league’s reigning MVP remained in the game, the Bucks were outdueled by LeBron James and the Lakers 113-103. James led all scorers with 37 points. The loss was the first time Milwaukee has suffered back-to-back losses on the road this season.
Antetokounmpo also suffered a split lip in the game that needed three stitches.
Antetokounmpo was seen limping in the locker room
After the injury, Antetokounmpo wore a compression sleeve on the knee, and when the game was over, he was seen limping in the locker room.
It appeared Antetokounmpo, however, spent more time worrying about his team’s loss than he did thinking about his injury.
“I feel offensively we were playing slow,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’re bringing the ball up, mind you. We are playing against LeBron [James], Markieff [Morris] and [ Anthony Davis], like in the half court. They’re freakin’ 7-foot, [so] it’s kinda hard to, like, get an open shot or play. We gotta do a better job playing faster. And defensively, we gave them a lot of free throws.”
The Bucks, who have not lost back-to-back games this season, will travel to Phoenix on Sunday to face the Suns, who are six games out of the playoff race in the Western Conference.
What would be the Bucks’ outlook without the Greek Freak?
The Milwaukee Bucks own the best record in the NBA at 53-10 and they have given themselves a pretty good cushion in the Eastern Conference. The Toronto Raptors are second in the East but are 8.5 games behind the Bucks. If Antetokounmpo is out for a brief period, Milwaukee should be able to withstand his absence.
If Antetokounmpo’s injury turns out to be something significant, then the Eastern Conference becomes wide open. The Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat could all make some noise in the postseason. It would be anyone’s game.
With Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are clearly the favorite to with the Eastern Conference. Even if he was out the remainder of the regular season and back for the playoffs, Kris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, and a deep bench would be enough to hold down the fort and keep a hold on that No. 1 seed.