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Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo on taking part in in NBA Finals after knee harm: 'I assumed I'm going to be out for the yr'

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Only a week in the past, Bucks followers had been holding their collective breath as Giannis Antetokounmpo crashed to the ground in Recreation 4 of the Japanese Convention finals with what seemed to be a critical knee harm. Quick ahead to Recreation 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night time, and the two-time MVP seemed rather a lot like his common self.

Antetokounmpo had 20 factors, 17 rebounds and 4 assists in Milwaukee’s 118-105 loss to Phoenix, a formidable efficiency contemplating “The Greek Freak” had solely been upgraded from uncertain to questionable on Tuesday afternoon. Throughout his postgame media availability, Antetokounmpo, who suffered a hyperextension of his left knee in opposition to the Hawks however averted any structural injury, instructed reporters he did not really feel any ache in his 35 minutes of motion.

MORE: Finest highlights from Recreation 1 of NBA Finals

“It is OK. You understand, clearly not attempting to make it about me, however felt nice,” Antetokounmpo stated. “You understand, the medical workers cleared me to play, and you realize, on the market I had my stability. Thought my knee was secure. Didn’t really feel ache. So I felt good.”

Antetokounmpo could really feel good now, however he admitted that he initially feared the worst when he went down within the earlier spherical of the NBA playoffs. He nonetheless hasn’t watched the clip of the play wherein he was injured.

“I am simply completely happy, man. I went down, I assumed I’ll be out for the yr. I assumed I am gone,” Antetokounmpo stated. “I assumed I would flip — I would harm every part in my knee. Simply with the ability to be on the bench and never be on a chilly desk getting surgical procedure and supporting these guys, watching the sport and strolling round and sharing with them. Clearly, my aggressive aspect will need to play, however on the finish of the day you have at all times received to seek out the optimistic issues in every part that you just undergo so as so that you can transfer ahead.

“You understand, I am completely happy that they had been in a position to get the job performed. They performed nice. They performed collectively. I used to be extraordinarily proud for the group and I am completely happy that I’ve the chance to be on the market with them once more and end what we began.”

Antetokounmpo went via a rigorous rehabilitation course of to be able to get clearance to play from Milwaukee’s medical workers. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated Antetokounmpo had been “checking containers the final couple days and making progress.” He credited each the All-Star ahead and the group’s workers for getting him again on the ground so shortly.

“I believe there have been numerous good issues, contemplating 5 days and what he is been via these final 5, six, seven days,” Budenholzer stated. “I believe 17 rebounds, 20 factors, some nice playmaking, passing, defending the rim, he is similar to all people else. I am certain we’ll discover some issues the place he could possibly be higher. I believe it often takes him taking part in — he is a rhythm man.

“So, I am enthusiastic about how he’ll enhance from Recreation 1 to Recreation 2. We’ll see how he feels. However I believe play-wise, he at all times will get higher when he performs.”

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