Jamal Collier | ESPNReading: 4 min.
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out for the remainder of Sunday’s 130-117 Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat with a lower back contusion, the team announced.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said after the first-round matchup that Antetokounmpo had an X-ray that came out “clear.”
“We are going to monitor him and we will see how he wakes up [el lunes]Budenholzer said.
Antetokounmpo fell hard to the ground and landed on his back after taking a charging foul by Heat forward Kevin Love with 1:46 remaining in the first quarter. Antetokounmpo withdrew from the game after his second foul of the first quarter, but immediately headed for the locker room. He went out with tape around his lower back to start the second quarter and returned to the game with 9:56 remaining in the period.
However, Antetokounmpo did not attempt a shot during his next run down the court and appeared to limp as he attempted to run down the court in transition. After Milwaukee suffered a delay of game violation at the 8:33 mark in the second quarter, Antetokounmpo withdrew from the game again and returned to the locker room.
The Bucks then ruled him out for the remainder of the game.
“It just didn’t move. [bien]Budenholzer said. “He didn’t seem comfortable, confident. It felt like the right decision.”
Antetokounmpo scored six points on 2-for-4 shooting in 11 minutes.
Antetokounmpo has dealt with nagging injuries all season, including to his knee and wrist. In the final regular season meeting between Milwaukee and Miami on February 24, Antetokounmpo left the game early with a quadriceps injury after playing just six minutes in the first quarter.
So while Antetokounmpo has shown the ability to return early from injuries in the past, Budenholzer said the team will have to determine next steps in the coming days.
“We have to wait and see what the doctors say,” Budenholzer said. “Most importantly, what Giannis says. Certainly we’ve been blessed with him being incredibly resilient and quick to heal, but you just have to take him day by day and see how he does and how he feels.”
The Bucks are 11-8 this season in games Antetokounmpo didn’t play.
The Bucks had a plus-7.2 net rating with Antetokounmpo on the floor this season, which would have led the league. Without him, his net rating was -1.4, which would have been 24th, between the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic.
“We don’t want him to get hurt, but it’s still the man-following mentality,” Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. “We have enough talent on this team to cover him until he comes back, so again, I don’t want to see him get hurt because I know how he feels, especially in Game 1 of the playoffs.”
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