Bucks rule out Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf) for regular season

April 10, 2024, 7:59 PM

Milwaukee Bucks star  Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the remainder of the regular season, the team announced Wednesday, after an MRI confirmed a strain of his left soleus (calf). 

Antetokounmpo's left Achilles tendon is fully intact, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, and his return to play will depend on how quickly his left calf strain heals. 

The Bucks issued an update on Antetokounmpo's status before their home game with the Orlando Magic that didn't make any predictions on his potential availability for the start of the playoffs. The release said he will "receive daily treatment and evaluation."

The Bucks finish the regular season by visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday and Orlando on Sunday. Their opening playoff game would take place either April 20 or April 21.

Bucks coach Doc Rivers said the team did not have a timeline for Antetokounmpo's return. Rivers was asked if he expects Antetokounmpo to be ready for the playoffs.

"Yeah, I'm hoping," Rivers said during his pregame media availability Wednesday. "I don't know. I'm just hoping."

Rivers said it was unlikely that Antetokounmpo travels with the Bucks for their final road trip. 

Antetokounmpo exited Tuesday night's win over the Boston Celtics in the third quarter after crumpling to the floor while grabbing at his left leg. The two-time MVP's teammates helped carry him off the court and toward the locker room.

After receiving word the noncontact injury was not to Antetokounmpo's Achilles tendon, Rivers acknowledged that he and the organization were breathing a sigh of relief.

Antetokounmpo finishes the regular season having averaged 30.4 points on a career-best 61% shooting to go along with 11.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists, also a career best, in 73 games. He is the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game on 60% shooting, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

"You know Giannis, he's not happy," Rivers said about Antetokounmpo's mood. "Giannis wants to play every night, every minute. He hates coming out of games."

In addition to Antetokounmpo, the Bucks were also without forward Khris Middleton (injury management) on Wednesday as he sat the second night of a back-to-back.

The Bucks (48-31) hold a one-game lead over the New York Knicks (47-32) for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference entering play Wednesday.

Milwaukee is 45-38 this season when Antetokounmpo plays, compared to 3-3 when he sits. 

"You still got to play basketball," Rivers said. "Guys have to play and you just hope that they can stay healthy. We haven't had great luck in that regard; we know that. There are things that we have to be smart about as well."

Bucks guard Damian Lillard noted Tuesday night that he dealt with a similar injury as Antetokounmpo last season while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard recalled that he came back from a calf injury after about eight or nine days, only to hurt his soleus. Lillard said he then ended up missing about two more weeks.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.