ATLANTA (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks suddenly are facing the
daunting challenge of possibly having to move forward in their
Eastern Conference Finals without their two-time MVP.
Giannis Antetokounmpo sustained a hyperextension of his left
knee and 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
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
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.”
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
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
“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
Following a slow start to the game, Antetokounmpo had scored
eight of his 14 points in the opening minutes of the second half.
Following the jam by Capela, the Hawks led 62-52 when the Bucks'
star left the game.
The loss of Antetokounmpo appeared to derail the momentum of the
Holiday said the injury wasn't a distraction.
“No. We’ve been around the game long enough to know guys are
going to get hurt,” Holiday said. “You pray it’s not serious.”
Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo is "a big part of our soul and
our fiber. I’m sure the human element and the concern is real.
They’re trying to find a way to be there for him when he’s not on
The Hawks were without their leading scorer, Trae Young, who was
held out with a bone bruise in his right ankle.
“There’s no excuses,” Tucker said. “Everybody is hurt. Everybody
is battling injuries. You’ve got to fight through.”
Tucker said the Hawks' play without Young should serve as an
example for the Bucks, especially if Antetokounmpo can't play in
“Every play, lay it on the line and go out there and take it
because tonight that’s what Atlanta did,” Tucker said. “They went
out there and took it.”