Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela, top, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo fall to the court during the third quarter in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals in the NBA basketball playoffs Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Atlanta. Antetokounmpo left the game. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday after undergoing an MRI on his injured left knee.
Bucks officials said the two-time MVP hyperextended his left knee in the third quarter of a 110-88 game 4 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. The Bucks announced Wednesday that an MRI confirmed that diagnosis and said he'd be listed as doubtful for Thursday's game.
"We'll just take it day by day and see how he's doing," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
"When you talk about the range of possibilities, I think where this has landed has to be looked at as a positive," Budenholzer added. "It's still a really difficult fall."
Antetokounmpo was attempting to block a dunk attempt by Atlanta's Clint Capela when he landed awkwardly. He clutched his knee in obvious pain and remained down for several minutes before walking slowly to the locker room.
He briefly went back to the Bucks' bench and then returned to the locker room shortly afterward.
The Bucks and Hawks are tied at two games apiece in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Game 5 on Thursday in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo has been averaging 28.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists in the postseason. Milwaukee went 6-5 in the 11 regular-season games Antetokounmpo missed, including a stretch of six straight games in April when he also was dealing with an injured left knee.
"Guys get a chance to step up," Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said after Game 4. "Guys get a chance to make big plays and on the biggest stage. I feel like us playing without him has given us some rhythm and just knowing what it's like, making some adjustment that will be made. But at the end of the day, we'd rather play with him."
This is the second straight year that Antetokounmpo has dealt with an injury during the postseason.
Last year, the Bucks already trailed Miami 3-0 in the second round when Antetokounmpo sprained his ankle in Game 4, knocking him out for the rest of that series. The Bucks won Game 4 in overtime, but a Game 5 loss eliminated them.
The Hawks have their own injury issues.
Star guard Trae Young missed Game 4 with a bone bruise in his right foot, and center Clint Capela has inflammation in his right eye after taking an elbow in the face late in the game. Both players are listed as questionable.