Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said his hyper-extended left knee felt great and he didn't experience any pain during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday.
The Phoenix Suns took the series opener, 118-105, but the health of the Greek Freak feels like a small victory itself for Antetokounmpo, who hadn't played since suffering the injury in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks.
On Tuesday, Giannis was suddenly upgraded to a game-time decision, then played 35 minutes with 20 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a massive block.
On any given night that would be a spectacular play. On Tuesday, Antetokounmpo revealed he made it only days after he thought his season was over. Antetokounmpo told reporters he still hasn't watched video of his injury in Game 4 of the ECF, but he was certain it meant the end of his playoff run.
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“When the play happened I thought, ‘I’m going to be out for a year.’ I’m just happy that two games later I’m back.” <br><br>Giannis discusses making his return from injury <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAFinals?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAFinals</a> <a href="https://t.co/eKGf64Q8uS">pic.twitter.com/eKGf64Q8uS</a>
Thankfully for the Bucks—and basketball fans—Antetokounmpo was able to make it back to the floor for one of the most important games of his career. And he did it in style.
Milwaukee is likely to monitor Antetokounmpo's knee closely over the next few days as the team looks to keep its two-time MVP healthy. Game 2 is slated for Thursday, July 8 at 9 p.m. ET.
If Antetokounmpo can provide another outing like he did in Game 1, the Bucks have significantly better chances of evening the series before Games 3 and 4 shift to Milwaukee.