Storyline: Giannis Antetokounmpo Injury

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Milwaukee Bucks all-star Giannis Antetokounmpo will sit out Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers as well as Monday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns as the team actively manages the health of Antetokounmpo’s sore right knee. He plans to return to action Friday against the Brooklyn Nets at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The management of Antetokounmpo’s situation is something the team knew would be a critical, daily aspect of the season. That management has been going on since this summer, when knee pain led Antetokounmpo to withdraw from playing with the Greek national team. Beginning then, the team worked on a plan that would best fit the situation for all parties throughout the season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s injury, which is not considered to be tendinitis, is regarded as something that is always going to bother him to some extent, according to a league source. There will be days where the discomfort is higher and some when it’s lower, and the team’s goal is to manage that on a daily basis to keep the injury from becoming severe or significant — something it is not considered to be at this point. (…) According to the source, the decision was made “for the greater good of the season.” According to the source, there’s no difference between playing 20 minutes or 40 minutes a game. “It’s not something that’s going to get worse; it’s just a management case,” the source said.

“Oh no, I’m definitely not worried,” Antetokounmpo said. “Just got to be a little bit cautious about it. That’s what my team wants me to do. I think that’s the best decision for my knee. Just got to be careful because at the end of the day we’re a really good team and we want to make the playoffs, we want to go deep in the playoffs. Personally and the team, we don’t want anything happening right now to my knee that’s going to affect the team in the long run.”

Speaking on the Greek newspaper “To Vima”, Missas gave more details about the health condition of the Greek freak, which is the reason that keeps him out of the Eurobasket. “The story with Giannis is crystal clear”, said Missas. “Giannis wanted to play. That was his goal from the get-go, despite the condition of his knee, which wouldn’t create him any major issue. From day one, he was under great pressure from the Bucks, but he tried his best, giving 100% in every practice. The final decision has to do with him failing in the Bucks’ test. And that’s the end of discussion”.

According to Missas, if Giannis was 100% healthy, then he would play in the Eurobasket: “After the first stage of our training camp the other players of the team were informed about the situation with Giannis, his health and the upcoming trip to China. I have also to say that last year Giannis put on hold his deal with the Bucks in order to play in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but we can’t forget that Giannis is also a 22 years old kid. And in order to close the whole issue, I have to say that if Giannis was healthy and the Bucks asked him not to play, he would play”.

“Giannis recently left his national team to travel to China for an appearance. Here he was visited by Bucks Head of Strength and Conditioning Suki Hobson. Hobson put Giannis through a series of exercises to evaluate his knee and reported that he was still experiencing significant pain on basic movements. “After reviewing the report filed by Hobson, Dr. Raasch recommended that due to the recurring knee pain, Giannis should not continue to attempt to play at this time and that the best course of action would be for him to return to Milwaukee for further evaluation and to begin a structured, daily rehabilitation program.

The Bucks took things a step further with a statement that was released early Sunday morning. The statement, which came from general manager Jon Horst, detailed the events that led to Antetokounmpo removing himself from EuroBasket competition. The full statement from Horst is as follows: “After a brief time in training with the Greek National Team, Giannis reported to our basketball staff that he was having right anterior knee pain following certain movements. At this time, we contacted the Greek National Team and requested that Giannis stop on-court running and jumping for a period of time to rest. Bucks Team Physician Dr. William Raasch consulted with Dr. Voulgaropoulos of the Greek National Team regarding the injury and as a result Giannis continued to sit out from training.

Greek Basketball Federation: A series of clues by which we were particularly worried about since Giannis arrived in Greece and the national team training camp started, had created the conviction of an organized and well-staged plan by the NBA franchise in which Giannis has signed. Everything was in full knowledge of the NBA, if not encouraged by the NBA, and the athlete was put in a very difficult place and ultimately was obliged today to inform that he can’t be a member of the national team.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I want everyone to be informed by me that I will not be able to play for the Greek national team in the upcoming Eurobasket. All this time I was pressuring myself to practice. I was trying to fool myself and not feel the pain, hoping that I will be ready for the official games. I failed in the tests I was put to and the reason was the pain I felt from the first seconds. I can accept the truth and deal with it in a mature manner. I have to work and improve as much as I can the condition of my knee.
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