Giannis Antetokounmpo injury update: Bucks star ruled out of 2021 NBA Finals rematch with Suns on Sunday
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has officially been ruled out of his team’s 2021 NBA Finals rematch with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday due to a right quad contusion. Antetokounmpo suffered the injury in the first quarter of the Bucks’ 128-99 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night — a result that gave Milwaukee the longest winning streak in the league this season at 13 games.
A team spokesperson initially said that Antetokounmpo “knocked knees” with a Heat player, which Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed during his postgame press conference. After further evaluation, however, the team is now calling it a quad contusion.
“It’s enough where he can’t play today but I think we’re also confident that this is a fairly common occurrence in our league,” Budenholzer said during his pre-game press conference on Sunday. “You hit knees, you knock, sometimes it takes a day or two and it’s really nothing more than that. The level of conversations have all been along that line.”
With just over a minute remaining in the first quarter, Antetokounmpo briefly posted up on the right block, then tossed the ball out to Jevon Carter and immediately signaled to the bench. He started walking off the floor as play was going on and the Bucks called a timeout to get him out of the game. Antetokounmpo limped straight to the locker room and did not return.
Antetokounmpo appeared to already be in discomfort when he re-entered the game with 1:43 remaining in the contest and was grabbing at his knee on the possession prior to him checking out. However, it’s still unclear exactly when the injury happened.
“He was basically asking out,” Budenholzer said on Friday. “Fortunately we had the ball and I don’t think we know exactly when he knocked knees. He was asking for the timeout, so we had to call the timeout… I’m pretty sure it was either on a drive or on a screen that he knocked knees with somebody and just wasn’t able to return.”
Antetokounmpo initially wasn’t expected to even play against the Heat due to a sprained wrist he suffered during the team’s final game before the All-Star break. As a result of the wrist injury, Antetokounmpo sat out of the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night and played just 20 seconds in the All-Star Game on Sunday. He also made a trip to New York for additional testing on the wrist, which proved to be positive.
After going through his pre-game warm-up routing on Friday, he was cleared to play. However, Budenholzer acknowledged during his pre-game press conference that Antetokounmpo was “certainly not gonna be 100 percent.” That is now based on two ailments.