The status of Giannis Antetokounmpo for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat on Saturday is still unknown, according to comments made by the Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer on Friday.
Antetokounmpo, who has won the MVP award twice, engaged in some solo work before the Bucks’ practice, but Budenholzer noted that Antetokounmpo did not participate in any “team things.” Antetokounmpo exited Sunday’s defeat in Game 1 of the series with a damaged lower back and did not participate in Wednesday’s win by the Bucks against the 76ers in Game 2, which evened the series at 1-1.
In Friday’s injury report, Antetokounmpo was described as uncertain.
Before departing for Miami, Bucks head coach Budenholzer stated, “We’re just going to observe him the rest of today.” “Tomorrow, we’ll keep an eye on him to find out where he is, and then we’ll make our choices along with him.”
Wesley Matthews has been ruled out for Game 3 by Budenholzer, but the head coach did not indicate whether or not the veteran guard may play again later in the series. After experiencing a strain in his right calf during Game 1, Matthews was forced to miss Game 2.
Without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks finished the regular season with an 11-8. In his absence, they were able to win on Wednesday by making a record-setting number of three-point shots (25), which set an NBA playoff record.
According to Budenholzer, “The fact of it is that whenever he or anyone is ready, that’s when they’re going to play,” regardless of the situation. “You can’t deny the playoffs or reality or human nature or stuff like that, but I don’t believe your back or body recognizes whether it’s December or the playoffs. You are ready whenever you decide that you are prepared. We promise that he will always be safe under our watch, and we will always have his well-being, his future, and his professional advancement in mind.
Budenholzer said that Jae Crowder was a full participant in Friday’s practice and that he is “okay to go” for Saturday’s game. During the third quarter of Game 2, Crowder had to leave the field with what seemed to be an injury and go to the locker room.
The Heat will again be without Tyler Herro, who fractured his right hand in the series’ first game. Herro has said he would likely only play for the Heat in the next playoffs if they make it to the NBA Finals.