The story of the 2021 NBA playoffs has been injuries to star players.
That story continued in a harrowing way in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, as u">>Milwaukee Bucks forward u">>Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a left knee injury that removed him from the game.
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The injury came in the third quarter, with Antetokounmpo trying to prevent a lob at the rim for the Atlanta Hawks before coming down awkwardly on his left knee.
Antetokounmpo was helped off the court, and the injury was soon announced to be a hyperextended left knee. He later returned to his team's bench but was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
On Wednesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Antetokounmpo suffered no structural damage from the tumble.
Prior to Wednesday's update, FOX Sports Injury & Performance Analyst Dr. Matt Provencher offered his thoughts:
"From the video, you can see that Antetokounmpo hyperextends his left knee as he comes down to the floor, and Hawks center Clint Capela’s leg also comes in contact with Giannis' leg. This slightly forces his tibia backward and puts the knee back into hyperextension. He hyperextended it as he came down on the floor — at least 10 degrees or slightly more — but instantaneously comes back to a neutral knee position as he goes down to the floor in obvious pain."
Dr. Provencher continued: "This type of knee injury — a hyperextension that does not involve a lot of twisting or lateral movement — can be one or a combination of several injuries to the knee, including what is most common, a capsular injury to the back of the knee, which is the most minor injury scenario, as well as bone bruising to the front of the knee. However, it could also be an injury to the capsule of the knee and/or meniscus, and if really severe, it could involve a partial or even more serious ligament injury.
"Of course, it is still too soon to tell, and we will await confirmation from the team, but it is pretty good news that he was able to walk back to the locker room under his own power. If it is just a capsular sprain and possibly a bone bruise, we could see Antetokounmpo back as soon as in a few days or maybe after one or two weeks to allow the capsule injury and/or bone bruise to heal. Once these heal, strong players such as Giannis usually do very well and come back quite strong and perform at a top level."
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The Eastern Conference finals had already been dealt a big injury blow, as it was announced before tipoff of Game 4 that Hawks point guard u">>Trae Young would miss the game because of a bone bruise in his right foot.
Now, Antetokounmpo becomes the latest star to suffer an injury in a postseason that has become a war of attrition.
After yet another of the NBA's great players suffered an injury, there was an outpouring of support and concern on social media, including from Young himself.
"I had that injury my last year playing for the [New York] Jets. … Stephon Gilmore takes out my knee. Boom – hyperextension. I came back out, and I ended up finishing the game … but I wasn't right until Week 10. I should have been out for about six or seven weeks. … I would play the games, but I would be recording and rehabbing through the entire week."
Personal experience aside, Nick Wright said that as a sports fan, watching Giannis go down Tuesday hit him where it hurts.
"We've all watched these playoffs and said, ‘Oh, my God, all the injuries.’ But at least none of the injuries suffered during this postseason seem to be traumatic, long-term injuries. … It's like, ‘Oh OK, if this was the regular season, they’d be out a few weeks and then back.' Giannis' injury last night made me sick to my stomach, not because it was gruesome in nature but because this is the unfairness of professional sports."
As Wright expressed, it's not only Milwaukee fans who are on pins and needles. It's the sports world in general.
There is obviously the possibility that Giannis misses at least one game or even the rest of the series. And if that is the case – or even if it isn't – Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe are betting on the Hawks to pull off the upset after Tuesday's blowout win without the services of Young.
"[The Bucks] didn't take this game serious. I know what happened," Sharpe said. "‘Man, they without Trae. They can’t beat us without Trae.' And they didn't come with the same intensity that they came with in Games 2 and 3. … They better hope Giannis come back, or they not gonna win another game."
Filling in for Young was veteran guard and former sixth man extraordinaire Lou Williams, who made the first postseason start of his 16-year career.
In the first three games of the series, Williams scored a combined 13 points, five assists and three rebounds in 43 total minutes. But on Tuesday, he put up 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds in 35 minutes.
Bayless didn't go as far as to say that Atlanta doesn't need Young to make an NBA Finals run, but he did see a Hawks team sharing the ball in ways it normally does, beginning with Williams.
"I'm not gonna make the case that the Hawks are better without Trae Young, but I gotta tell you, that looked good to me last night. That looked real to me. … Lou Williams had eight [assists]. [Kevin] Huerter had seven [assists]. Look at [Bogdan Bogdanovic] getting five [assists]. … I liked what I saw, even without Trae Young.
"The Hawks seem like the tighter, better team right now."
FOX Sports NBA analyst Chris Broussard was on Bayless' wavelength.
"I do like Atlanta's roster – without the stars – better than I like Milwaukee's. … And here's the most important thing for Atlanta: They have a big coaching advantage. Nate McMillan is doing an outstanding job."
With Antetokounmpo's status still uncertain following Wednesday's news, the tide could indeed swing in the favor of Atlanta, even with Young on the mend.
But for now, it's 2-2, with both superstars in the series watching from the sideline as these NBA playoffs get wilder by the day.
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Source : https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nba/giannis-antetokounmpo-milwaukee-bucks-hyperextended-left-knee-game-4-eastern-conference-finals1521