Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo Ruled Out vs. Wizards Because of Shoulder Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 28, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 121-109. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss at least one game because of a shoulder injury. 

The team officially announced Antetokounmpo won't play Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards with soreness in his right shoulder.

Tuesday marks Milwaukee's first game since a 116-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday in Paris. Depending on the severity of the injury, Antetokounmpo could return for Friday's game against the Denver Nuggets

Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.0 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists in another MVP-worthy campaign after winning the 2018-19 award. The nightly triple-double threat is tied with Justise Winslow of the Miami Heat in defensive win shares (0.183), per NBA.com.

The Bucks have gone 3-0 sans Antetokounmpo in 2019-20, with the team notably taking down the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic by an average of 17.3 points in December.

Antetokounmpo sat out the Pels' matchup with right quad tendon soreness, and back soreness kept him out of the Hawks and Magic contests.

The 25-year-old has largely stayed injury-free over his first seven NBA seasons. He hasn't missed more than 10 games in a single year since the Bucks picked him 15th overall in the 2013 draft.

The Bucks have broken out since Antetokounmpo's 2018-19 MVP season, going an NBA-best 60-22 last year and a league-best 40-6 so far in 2019-20. Last year's Bucks fell to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, but this year's squad is in the driver's seat to have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs once again.

Milwaukee needs a healthy Antetokounmpo to contend for its first NBA title since the 1970-71 season, but the Bucks' deep rotation has done its part when the superstar has been off the court.

Expect All-Star wing Khris Middleton to assume more usage and scoring responsibilities in Antetokounmpo's absence. 

Point guard Eric Bledsoe will see increased opportunities as well.

Ersan Ilyasova should get the biggest bump in court time. The 32-year-old forward has entered the starting lineup in Antetokounmpo's place and fared well, notably averaging 17.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game in two starts on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28.

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