MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s troublesome proper ankle is performing up once more.
With slightly below eight minutes left within the Bucks’ Thursday sport in opposition to the Clippers, Antetokounmpo threw down a dunk that gave his workforce a 108-91 lead. As he retreated, Antetokounmpo collided with Garrett Temple and fell down clutching his proper ankle.
The Bucks went on to defeat the Clippers 128-118. Antetokounmpo completed with 34 factors, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in 32 minutes of enjoying time. He didn’t return to the sport, as an alternative sitting on the bench and sometimes standing to gingerly stroll the sideline and take a look at his ankle.
After the sport, Antetokounmpo stated he felt “good,” however he was strolling across the locker room with a big limp. He appeared to be in good spirits, joking with teammates and rapping loudly to Greek music that performed over the loud speaker.
Antetokounmpo missed video games final week in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers after spraining the precise ankle on March 17 in opposition to the 76ers. He stated that he by no means felt totally recovered from the preliminary sprain.
“Normally if you sprain your ankle, you tweak your ankle, you keep out for 2, three, 4 video games,” Antetokounmpo stated. “However I do not like lacking video games, so I’ve to work by it whereas enjoying and attempt to get my energy with our practices.”
It appeared that the Bucks briefly thought-about having Antetokounmpo return to the sport in opposition to LA.
The Clippers went on a 7-Zero run after Antetokounmpo went to the bench. With the Bucks main by 10 and slightly below 5 minutes left within the sport, Antetokounmpo walked to the scorer’s desk. Quickly after, Brook Lopez splashed in a three, pushing the Bucks’ lead again to 13 and prompting a Clippers timeout.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer appeared to be comfy with that time margin, and Antetokounmpo sat again down.
“I simply thought we’d put him again in,” Budenholzer stated. “I assumed higher of it after a pair performs.”
The Bucks have been riddled with accidents in latest weeks. The workforce is with out Nikola Mirotic (thumb), Malcolm Brogdon (plantar fasciitis) and Pau Gasol (foot). On Tuesday, the workforce determined to close down rookie Donte DiVincenzo, who has been coping with an ongoing heel damage.
Managing Antetokounmpo’s well being — particularly his knees and ankles — has been a spotlight for the Bucks all season. Final season, he performed heavy minutes underneath former coach Jason Kidd, and it took a toll on his physique. The Bucks’ present teaching workers has been cautious to not overload the MVP candidate.
“I believe the teaching workers, Bud and the medical workers have executed an incredible job understanding when to drag me away from a sport,” Antetokoumpo stated. “I belief them. It would not matter if I’m going by ache or I do not really feel good. I’m all the time ready to play the sport. There are going to be some days I’m going to play with ache. There’s going to be a whole lot of days I am cussed and saying I wish to go play, however Coach Bud is like, ‘No, you aren’t going to play.'”
The Bucks are holding an “particular person day” on Friday, and gamers are free to return into the fitness center and work out one-on-one or in small teams. On Saturday, the workforce travels to Atlanta. That schedule offers Antetokounmpo not less than two days to get therapy with out having to fret about video games.
“We have now six video games left, however the factor that’s most necessary for this workforce is to remain wholesome,” Antetokounmpo stated. “And get the fellows which were out — get them again and assist them get again into the rhythm and put together for the playoffs. For this group, the primary focus is well being, and so long as we keep wholesome, we’re going to be advantageous.”