Giannis Antetokounmpo Won't Play for Bucks vs. Jazz Because of Knee Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 17, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 7: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 7, 2022 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss Saturday's game against the Utah Jazz.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer announced before tipoff the two-time NBA MVP is dealing with rest with soreness in his left knee.

While Antetokounmpo has been durable for much of his career and appeared in at least 61 games in each of his first nine seasons, he missed time during EuroBasket in September with knee discomfort and was sidelined with knee soreness in November.

Any health concerns for Antetokounmpo will be amplified, given his overall importance to the Bucks' championship hopes.

The six-time All-Star is arguably the best player in the league and someone who can take over games on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. His ability to overpower defenders on his way to the rim while shutting down the opponent's best players is unmatched in today's game, and much of what Milwaukee does on the court runs through him.

He is averaging 30.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.0 blocks and 0.9 steals in 24 games in 2022-23.

The Bucks can't realistically hope to replicate his impact if he is sidelined, but they can turn to the combination of Bobby Portis, Brook Lopez and Serge Ibaka for more playing time in the frontcourt as they attempt to tread water without their biggest star.