May 19, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out of Game 3 due to a calf strain

Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out of Game 3 due to a calf strain

The Milwaukee Bucks have ruled out two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for Game 3 of Friday night's series against the Indiana Pacers with a left calf strain.

The Bucks have already played the first two games of this series without Antetokounmpo. The Bucks and Pacers tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Antetokounmpo has not played since he injured his left calf during the match in which his team won over the Boston Celtics on April 9. He missed the Bucks' final three games of the regular season.

The Bucks face the possibility of continuing the first round of the Eastern Conference qualifiers without two of their top three players. Khris Middleton has a sprained right ankle that kept him from practice Thursday and puts his status in question for Game 3 in Indianapolis.

The injury report issued by the NBA on Thursday afternoon listed Antetokounmpo as doubtful and Middleton's participation in Friday's game.

Middleton limped in the first quarter of the Bucks' 125-108 Game 2 loss on Tuesday and briefly entered the locker room, but returned after his right ankle was reattached and ended up playing 36 minutes. The three-time All-Star averaged 19.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists over his first two games.

The Bucks have played without key players on numerous occasions this year. The Bucks have had their top three players β€” Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Damian Lillard β€” all available for just five of their last 35 games. This 35-game stretch covers Milwaukee's last 33 regular season contests and the first two games of the series.

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The Bucks have become accustomed to dealing with injuries during the postseason.

Antetokounmpo missed the last game and a half of the 2020 second-round loss to Miami with a sprained ankle. He did not play the final two games of the 2021 East Finals with a hyperextended knee before returning to lead Milwaukee to the championship as the NBA Finals MVP, scoring 50 points in winning the title.

Middleton missed the Bucks' final 10 playoff games in 2022 with a sprained medial collateral ligament.

Last year, a lower back bruise knocked Antetokounmpo out of Game 1 and caused him to miss the next two games in the Bucks' first-round loss to Miami.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.