Giannis avoids Achilles injury, but calf strain worrisome for Bucks with playoffs nearing

MILWAUKEE — Until 3:40 left in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Boston Celtics, things were looking good for the Milwaukee Bucks. In the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Bucks were up 15 points on the NBA’s only 60-win team.

Then disaster struck.

Without making contact with another player, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo collapsed to the ground and immediately grabbed the lower half of his left leg.

After sitting for a short time with his teammates and a trainer surrounding him, Antetokounmpo put weight on the leg then put an arm around the shoulders of teammates Brook Lopez and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Ultimately, Antetokounmpo returned to the Bucks locker room under his own power.

The Bucks announced Tuesday night that Antetokounmpo strained his left soleus, which is a calf muscle. But Antetokounmpo managed to avoid damage to his left Achilles tendon — a best-case outcome — and his return will depend on the treatment and rehabilitation response to the strained calf, league sources said. Athleticism‘s Shams Charania Wednesday morning.

The injury cast a cloud over Milwaukee’s 104-91 victory over Boston.

Bucks point guard Damian Lillard, who was bringing the ball up to start an offensive possession, was the closest player to Antetokounmpo when he saw the Bucks’ All-NBA forward fall to the ground.

“Any time you see one of your teammates go down, it’s a real level of concern,” Lillard said. “We spend a lot of time with each other, more than our family, so I think that was the number one thing. And then for it to be your best player, the most important part of our team, at that point in the season, it was like an “Oh s…” moment, especially because there was no one there. other around.

“And I was right next to him. So I just saw his facial expression, his reaction. So obviously, I was scared. I knew we were going to call a timeout, so I just dribbled to half court, and when he got up, I could tell he wanted to try to put weight on it. And I saw him put weight on him and it was like, I guess his reaction is what made him almost come back down. But I saw him putting weight on it. So I said to myself, “All right. This seems stronger than I thought.

“And seeing him be able to even get through it on his own, I think that showed me a lot of things.” And so obviously, that was encouraging to see. And now you just want him to be healthy.

Rivers agreed with Lillard that there was real concern about Antetokounmpo’s health, especially with the NBA playoffs beginning April 20.

“High, I would say that,” Rivers said of his level of concern. “But it’s Giannis. I think everyone is probably feeling the same way I am right now. We’ll just hope for the best.

With Tuesday’s win, Milwaukee improved to 48-31 on the season. With three regular season games remaining, the Bucks are one game ahead of the New York Knicks for second place in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks also hold the tiebreaker against the Knicks, but have other concerns in the standings.

The Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers are also both two games behind the Bucks. The Cleveland Cavaliers own the division record against the Bucks, but have now lost three straight and won just three of their last 10 games. On the other hand, the tiebreaker is up in the air against the Magic, who will face the Bucks twice in the final three games of the regular season – first Wednesday night in Milwaukee, then Sunday in Orlando for the finale of the regular season for both. teams.

Between their meetings with the Magic, the Bucks face the Thunder, whom they beat on March 24 in Oklahoma City. This season, the Bucks are 3-3 in games Antetokounmpo doesn’t play.

The soleus is one of two muscles that make up the calf, so teams often refer to soleus strains as the most general strain of the calf, but there are cases where teams have specified that a player suffered from a soleus strain. One such instance happened last season with Lillard, when he was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.

“It’s…hurt,” Lillard said in response to a question from Athleticism on how I felt when he suffered the same injury in the first month of the 2022-23 season. “It hurts. … When I’ve done it, I’m usually able to get through it. I feel like I have a high tolerance for pain and when I did it, I started to walk, it wasn’t just that it was so painful, it was also that the muscle just couldn’t take it.

“So I think once it calmed down, you kind of found a way to limp along, but it’s a strange feeling. But hearing that, I know, I know that feeling. And also, as someone who’s been through this – if that’s what this is about – it’s also encouraging.

For Lillard, his soleus injury came after a calf strain in the same leg kept him out earlier in the season. Lillard was first listed on the injury report with a strained right calf on November 6, 2022, but he played through the injury until finally suffering a strained soleus a few weeks later.

“When I did it, I strained my calf, and then I came back after, I would probably say, eight or nine days, I came back from the calf,” Lillard said. “And then…I had the soleus injury right after I came back. I think it was like a game or two after I came back, I did my soleus. And then after that, it was about two weeks. For me it was about two weeks and then I came back and played.

Lillard was first listed on Portland’s injury report with a right soleus strain on November 20, 2022 and he did not play again until the Trail Blazers faced the Indiana Pacers on December 4, approximately 14 days after initial diagnosis.

The playoffs are only 10 days away, so Antetokounmpo’s schedule will depend entirely on the severity of the soleus strain, but Wednesday’s report that Antetokounmpo avoided an injury to his Achilles was good news for the Bucks.

(Giannis Antetokoumpo Photo: Stacy Revere / Getty Images)

News Source :
Gn sports

Back to top button