Giannis Antetokounmpo avoided a catastrophic knee injury when he went down in Game 4 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, but he says he's still feeling the aftereffects of his leg buckling.
“My leg was the opposite way,” Antetokounmpo told Zach Baron of GQ. “To this day, I feel the effect, the traumatic stress. I still feel it, and I think I’m going to feel it until I die.”
Antetokounmpo went down with a frightening knee injury in the third quarter of the Milwaukee Bucks' matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, staying down on the floor for more than a minute before limping to the locker room. It seemed at the time like a potential worst-case scenario, but Antetokounmpo avoided major injury and was able to return for the NBA Finals, where he took home his first Finals MVP.
While Antetokounmpo hasn't shown any ill effects from the hyperextension, this is evidence of the discomfort athletes are likely playing with at all times. We constantly hear about recovery from ACL tears, but rarely about the minor, recurrent injuries that athletes play through every night.
It's the old hurt vs. injured adage. Antetokounmpo may never be 100 percent the same after the injury—and it's possible it portends a more catastrophic injury later in his career—but he's still able to play at a high level, so little is said about the ailment.