NBA

Giannis to miss Game 2 due to bruised lower back

By Sports Desk April 19, 2023

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out of Game 2 of the Milwaukee Bucks' first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat due to a bruised lower back.

Antetokounmpo exited the Game 1 loss with a lower back contusion after landing heavily when driving to the basket and charging into Heat's Kevin Love. He initially tried to play on but was ruled out at half-time.

The Bucks had listed the MVP candidate as doubtful on Tuesday after an X-ray and MRI scan both came back clean, later updating that to questionable.

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer confirmed prior to Wednesday's Game 2 that Antetokounmpo would be unavailable.

"[We were] hopeful that he would play and also aware that he might not," Budenholzer told reporters. "The guys are ready. The group's focused and in a good place."

Antetokounmpo's status will be critical for the Bucks during the series, but Budenholzer remained optimistic that he will return soon.

"He's continued to improve, but organizationally and talking and working with him and the sports performance group, the decision was made," Budenholzer said.

"He's out. The guys that are ready and the guys that are available are good to go. We'll continue to monitor him and expect for him to improve and still continue to be optimistic that soon he'll be ready to play."

The Greek forward averaged 31.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per game during the regular season, sitting in the NBA's top five for both categories.

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