Injured former NBA MVP, potential Nuggets finals opponent set to miss playoff action

Denver Nuggets v Milwaukee Bucks
Denver Nuggets v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Unfortunately, every NBA season since the dawn of time has been marred by injuries at least to some degree. Just last season, the 2 seed Grizzlies couldn’t keep their team together and it allowed the Nuggets to face a 7 seed in the conference finals.

It truly happens every year. Some years are worse than others, but there’s always something. Luckily, this year has mostly featured positive injury news leading up to the playoffs as we’ve seen stars like Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Trae Young, and Brandon Ingram successfully return to action in time for play-in and playoff games.

But one brutal and possible seismic injury suffered recently was the calf strain for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis went down late in a win over the Celtics recently without any contact and stayed down for several minutes before being helped to the locker room. He was quickly ruled out for the remaining regular season games, but there was optimism that he’d avoided anything serious or long-term.

Giannis Antetokounmpo set to miss time

Well, that still may be the case but news came in that the Bucks are expected to be without their best player for at least game one of their first-round series. Antetokounmpo, the two-time NBA MVP winner, was having another remarkable season, doing it all for the Bucks. He will almost certainly make First-Team All-NBA and will finish top 5 in MVP voting.

The Bucks are hopeful that Giannis will be able to return sometime later in the series, but that’s obviously no guarantee. Giannis has historically been a fast healer and a guy who is able to play through pain, as he miraculously did in the Bucks’ run to the 2021 championship.

But calf injuries can be very tricky and have led to re-injury and other major issues for players in the past. As badly as the team wants their MVP, they are going to have to exercise extreme caution here.

Even with Giannis in the lineup, the Bucks have struggled this season, firing their coach after just 43 games and finishing the season with a losing record under the replacement, Doc Rivers. Giannis has been patching up a lot of holes with this roster and even with a healthy Giannis, they’d likely have their hands full against the frisky upstart Pacers in round one. Without him, they could be drawing dead and headed to Cancun early.