Bucks still monitoring Giannis Antetokounmpo’s back injury

Bucks still monitoring Giannis Antetokounmpo's back injury

MILWAUKEE — Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo did not practice with the team Friday but did some individual work on the court, coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The Bucks will continue to monitor the two-time MVP’s lower-back contusion ahead of Game 3 on Saturday, said Budenholzer, who added that Antetokounmpo is still feeling some soreness. He’s officially listed as questionable for the game.

“He’s doing everything he can to make himself available to play,” Budenholzer said.

The Bucks and Miami Heat are tied at one win apiece in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is in Miami on Saturday night.

Antetokounmpo has not played since Sunday, when he fell to the ground after colliding with Miami’s Kevin Love. He played 11 minutes in Game 1, including an attempt to return in the second quarter after the injury, but his mobility was limited before he was removed from the game.

“We’re just going to monitor him the rest of [Friday]; we’ll monitor him [Saturday] and see where he is,” Budenholzer said.

Milwaukee matched an NBA record with 25 3-pointers in a 138-122 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Budenholzer said the Game 2 win would not influence the team’s decision on whether to give Antetokounmpo even more time to recover.

“The reality of it is, when he’s ready or anybody’s ready, that’s when they’re going to play,” Budenholzer said. “You can’t deny the playoffs and reality and human nature, but I don’t think your back or body knows whether it’s December or the playoffs. You’re ready when you’re ready. We’re always going to protect him and think about his health, his future, his career.”

Bucks forward Wesley Matthews did not practice Friday because of a right calf injury and will miss Game 3, Budenholzer said.

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