The entire NBA community held their breath as the two-time MVP’s knee buckled, and he fell on the floor in complete agony. The way Giannis hyperextended his knee, the question wasn’t if anything was torn but how severe the injury was. Antetokounmpo opened up about the events of that day and evening when he thought this and possibly next season are done for him.
“Until the next day, I couldn’t walk. And my knee was like double the size. Usually, I never swell up. But you know, I woke up the next day, did whatever it’s called, MRI or X-ray, I don’t know what it’s called and they said I’m good. And I was like, ‘Thank God.’”Giannis Antetokounmpo, The Athletic
Giannis went to bed thinking he suffered the faith Dario Šarić did in Game 1 on the Finals – a torn ACL. The fact Antetokounmpo is back on the court is a combination of genetics/physical predispositions and all the hard work he put into his body. Someone who’s not in peak physical shape wouldn’t be playing a week after an injury like that.
There’s a third part of that equation – money. NBA players have the best possible treatment and technology at hand, and the Bucks made sure to do everything possible for their superstar to get back on the court.
“Lifting and getting on the court, pool sessions, keeping my foot elevated, like 24 hours a day. And obviously it wasn’t easy but I was willing to do it, and the medical staff had a great program for me that I was able to do what I had to do to stay in shape and at the same time recover and not have a lot of swelling in my knee.”Giannis Antetokounmpo, The Athletic
Given everything that happened, his 20/17/4 box score seems amazing. But while he had no problem going north-south, it was obvious Giannis still had problems with lateral movement. Lucky for him and the Bucks, there’s a three-day break between most games in the Finals, so he should get better for every game.
Will it be enough? No-one knows. But given the fact it looked like we would lose a two-time MVP for the entire 21/22 season, we can all say a prayer to whichever deity we believe in that the 2021 Playoffs didn’t claim another superstar victim.
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