Why is Giannis Antetokounmpo not playing tonight against Indiana Pacers? Bucks star's latest injury update for Game 3 (April 26)

NBA: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks
Why is Giannis Antetokounmpo not playing tonight against Indiana Pacers? Bucks star's latest injury update

Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as out for the Milwaukee Bucks' 2024 NBA Playoffs first round Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers. The two-time MVP has been on the sidelines for the past five games, including the final three regular-season matchups and the opening two contests in the Pacers series, with a calf injury.

Antetokounmpo won't play in Game 3 because of the reason, with the Bucks citing a soleus strain as a reason to hold him back. They have gone 2-3 in this stretch without him and 1-1 in their series against the Pacers.

What happened to Giannis Antetokounmpo?

Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a calf injury on April 9 in the Bucks' 104-91 win over the Boston Celtics. While jogging up the floor, Antetokounmpo couldn't get the Bucks' defensive 3-point lint as he fell on the floor clutching his left leg. Antetokounmpo exited the game and didn't return.

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It was initially feared to be an Achilles scare, but diagnosis revealed that he suffered a calf strain. The optimistic return timeline reported for the same was 1-2 weeks before the Bucks ruled out Antetokounmpo's return for the start of the Pacers-Bucks series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo injury update: Latest on Bucks' star's health and return

According to the latest reports from Wednesday on Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury, the Bucks star still can't run or scrimmage, as per NBA insider Shams Charania.

Meanwhile, Bucks coach Doc Rivers confirmed the report after revealing that Antetokounmpo worked on his shooting and movement. Rivers said he hadn't progressed to "live-work" yet.

Antetokounmpo will need more time with his natural progressions for his return, which rules him out of Friday's game. His next chance to suit up will be Sunday for Game 4.

Bucks can't rush Giannis Antetokounmpo's return amid Achilles fear

Concerns about Giannis Antetokounmpo aggravating his calf injury will see the Bucks take precautions with their superstar's recovery and rehab. Antetokounmpo has dealt with hamstring and Achilles injuries to the same leg earlier this season, so in all likelihood, the calf injury could become a long-term issue if his return is rushed.

Antetokounmpo relies on his burst, speed and athleticism, so there's no point for the Bucks to bring him back if he's not 100%. The calf injury could lead to an Achilles tear, jeopardizing his participation for the entire 2024-25 NBA season.

The Bucks' chances of a deep playoff push seem bleak. Still, it won't be worth risking long-term health concerns for Giannis Antetokounmpo, especially with the window for another title run extended following Damian Lillard's addition.

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