Just a week ago, when Giannis Antetokounmpo fell to the ground with a serious knee injury in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bucks fans held their breath. Fast forward to the first game of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, and the two-time MVP looks a lot like his usual.
In Milwaukee’s 118-105 loss to Phoenix, Antetokounmpo scored 20 points, 17 rebounds and 4 assists. Considering the performance of the “Greek Freak” is impressive Upgrade from suspicious to suspicious Tuesday afternoon. During the post-match media interview, Antetokounmpo overextended his left knee in the game against the Eagles but avoided any structural injury. He told reporters that he did not feel any pain during the 35 minutes of the game.
“It’s okay. You know, it’s obviously not for me, but it feels great,” Antetokounmpo said. “You know, the medical staff allowed me to play, you know, where I kept my balance. I thought my knee was stable. I didn’t feel any pain. So I felt good.”
Antetokounmpo may feel good now, but he admits that when he lost in the last round of the NBA playoffs, he was initially worried about the worst. He hasn’t watched the footage of his injury.
“I’m just happy, man. I’m down, I thought I would be out for a year. I thought I was gone,” Antetokounmpo said. “I thought I would turn around-everything on my knee was injured. Just being able to sit on the bench instead of sitting on a cold table to undergo surgery and support those people, watch the game and walk around and share with them. Obviously, My competitors will want to participate in the competition, but in the final analysis, you always have to find positive things in everything you experience so that you can move on.
“You know, I’m very happy that they can get the job done. They played well. They played together. I am very proud of the team and I am very happy that I have the opportunity to play with them again and finish the work we started.”
“When the drama happened, I thought,’I’m going out for a year.’ I’m so happy I’m back after two games.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 7, 2021
Antetokounmpo went through a rigorous rehabilitation process in order to obtain permission to compete from Milwaukee medical staff. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said that Antetokounmpo “has been checking and making progress in the past few days.” He believes that the All-Star forward and the team’s staff made him return to the court so quickly.
“I think there are many good things, considering the five days and his experience in the past five, six, and seven days,” Budenholzer said. “I think 17 rebounds, 20 points, some excellent playmaking skills, passing, defensive basket, he is like everyone else. I believe we will find some places where he can do better. I think this usually requires him. Playing ball-he is a rhythm man.
“So, I am excited about his progress from the first game to the second game. We will see how he feels. But I think in terms of the game, he will always get better in the game.”