Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo Doubtful for NBA Finals Game 1 vs. Suns with Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 6, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) defends the ball against Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela (15) during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful for Game 1 of the NBA Finals with a hyperextension of his left knee, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

That news comes on the heels of Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer telling reporters during Finals media day that Antetokounmpo had been making "good progress" ahead of Game 1.

The 26-year-old suffered the injury in Game 4 of the Bucks' Eastern Conference Finals series against the Atlanta Hawks. An MRI revealed Antetokounmpo's ligaments were sound and that he had no structural damage to his left knee, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

The 6'11", 242-pound Antetokounmpo missed the rest of Game 4 and all of Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which the Bucks won 4-2.

Antetokounmpo, who won the 2018-19 and 2019-20 NBA MVP awards, averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game for the Bucks this year. He also earned his fifth All-Star appearance, his fifth All-NBA honor and fourth NBA All-Defensive team recognition.

Without him, the Bucks opted to put Bobby Portis in the starting lineup for Games 5 and 6 against the Hawks. 

The 26-year-old Portis, a 6'10", 250-pound power forward, averaged 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in those matchups. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday were also asked to carry a greater offensive load sans Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks now hope to win their first NBA Finals series since 1971, but the Phoenix Suns stand in the way. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET in Phoenix.