Report: Bucks' Giannis Will Play in NBA Finals Game 1 vs. Suns After Knee Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will play against the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.

The two-time MVP hasn't played since landing awkwardly in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported Antetokounmpo didn't suffer any structural damage to his left knee, which was subsequently described as hyperextended. While that seemingly left the door open for the 26-year-old to get back at some point in the NBA playoffs, his status turned into an almost daily source of intrigue and updates.

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said Monday that Antetokounmpo was "making good progress," but he was originally listed as doubtful for Tuesday. He was upgraded to questionable and worked out on the court prior to Game 1.

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Giannis warms up ahead of #NBAFinals Game 1. https://t.co/aUZ21XKBeJ

The importance of the 6'11" forward largely goes without saying. He averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.2 steals during the regular season. 

The Bucks closed out the conference finals without him, but the Hawks were dealing with injury problems of their own to Trae Young. The Suns are bound to pose a more difficult test to Milwaukee, so Antetokounmpo's availability is critical to the East champion.