The NBA’s run of bad injury luck this postseason regarding the top players in the game continued in the Milwaukee Bucks versus Atlanta Hawks series with both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young going down. Giannis did not play in Game 5 on Thursday and Young did not play in Games 4 and 5. Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals is set for Saturday night with a potential Game 7 slated for Monday night. The 2021 NBA Finals are expected to start mid-week next week. The Phoenix Suns, who have already advanced to the Finals, are waiting in the wings and are surely keeping an eye on the injuries to Giannis and Young. Here we will provide information on “when will Giannis be back” as well as update info on when Young could return. We’ll also look at betting odds for the series, NBA Finals betting odds and individual player futures.
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When will Giannis be back?
The injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo is being closely monitored by NBA bettors and Bucks fans. As for when will Giannis be back and return to the floor for the Bucks, we will provide a speculative timetable below as we sort through the latest information regarding the Greek Freak’s left knee.
The good news is that Giannis did not suffer any ligament damage to his knee. The bad news is that his hyperextended knee was bad enough to have him have to miss Game 5 of the series. The Bucks were impressive without Giannis Thursday, blasting Atlanta 123-112 while taking a 3-2 series lead.
With the cushion of a one-game advantage in the series, it seems unlikely that the Bucks would rush Giannis back that quickly if he is not yet ready.
Game 7 of the series would be played Monday night, and would take place less than a week after Giannis suffered the injury. Six days is also an extremely quick turnaround for a hyperextended knee.
Milwaukee-based orthopedic surgeon Mark Wichman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week that the typical recovery time for a minor hyperextended knee is 10-14 days. Healthline.com painted a more grim outlook for Bucks fans and Milwaukee futures bettors, stating that a “mild to moderate” hyperextended knee has a recovery time of 2 to 4 weeks.
Here is a speculative timetable for when Giannis could potentially return, including potential dates for NBA Finals games.
- Game 6 vs. Hawks: Saturday, July 3 – 4 days since injury
- Game 7 vs. Hawks: Monday, July 5 – 6 days
- Game 1 NBA Finals: Thursday, July 8 – 9 days
- Game 2 NBA Finals: Sunday, July 11 – 12 days
- Game 3 NBA Finals: Tuesday, July 13 – 14 days (2 weeks)
- Game 4 NBA Finals: Thursday, July 15 – 16 days
- Game 5 NBA Finals: Sunday, July 18 – 19 days
- Game 6 NBA Finals: Tuesday, July 20 – 21 days (3 weeks)
- Game 7 NBA Finals: Thursday, July 22 – 23 days
Based on Wichman’s best case scenario, it looks like Game 2 of the NBA Finals is the soonest we could see Giannis back on the court for the Bucks.
Despite all the uncertainty, Giannis still has the third lowest odds to win NBA Finals MVP at DraftKings Sportsbook as of July 2. Only Devin Booker at +205, and Chris Paul at +225 have lower odds.
There is a bit less mystery surrounding the injury to Hawks star Trae Young. On Friday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that “there is hope” that Young will be able to “make it a go” in Game 6 on Saturday. Young is +1600 to win NBA Finals MVP at DraftKings Sportsbook as of July 2.
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