Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is reportedly hoping to return to the lineup soon after being sidelined with knee soreness.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Antetokounmpo aims to be back on the floor "at the latest" by Monday's game against the Detroit Pistons. He also has a chance to return Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The two-time NBA MVP has avoided major injuries in his career, but his absence has become more frequent in recent seasons. He's played under 70 games in each of the last three years. This season, the Bucks are 6-4 when he's out of the lineup, per StatMuse.
Antetokounmpo is still a force on the court with averages of 31.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. That type of production is impossible to replace, making it difficult for Milwaukee to compete against elite teams without him.
At 29-16, the Bucks rank second in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee will hope to make another deep postseason run this year following 2021's championship season, but it will need to be at full strength. The team has also been working through the absence of forward Khris Middleton, who hasn't played since Dec. 15 because of a knee injury.
Wojnarowski also noted the Bucks hope Middleton "is not far behind" Antetokounmpo's apparently imminent return to the lineup.