Bucks exec optimistic Giannis Antetokounmpo plays in NBA Finals


Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who suffered a hyperextended left knee injury during Game 4 of the East finals against the Atlanta Hawks, has been listed as doubtful to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

But team president Peter Feigin believes that the two-time MVP winner will return to game action at some point during the series.

"I don't know [if Antetokounmpo plays in Game 1]. I don't know. I think as we go through this, it's really a day-by-day, gametime kind of decision," Feigin told The Zach Gelb Show on Monday. "If he's good and feels good and passes through medical, he'll play. And if he needs more time, he won't play. But I think we're all on the same page, and I think we showed it, kind of the last couple games in Atlanta. We've got a pretty deep team that can weather a few games."

Antetokounmpo suffered the knee injury midway through the third quarter of the Bucks' Game 4 loss in Atlanta, as he jumped to contest a Hawks' alley-oop and landed awkwardly on his left leg, with his knee buckling. After laying on the ground in pain for several minutes, the 26-year-old was helped to his feet, and ultimately walked off the court under his own power. He finished the game with 14 points and eight rebounds.

According to NBA TV reporter Jared Greenberg, Antetokounmpo showed up to the Bucks' practice on Monday, and participated in a private workout with the medical staff and front office observing.

"When people ask about the status of players, he's one of those guys who, I mean, he'd play on one leg if you allowed him to play," Feigin said. "I think with this, we've all been -- starting from [GM] Jon Horst and medical -- just wanting him to get as much rest and recovery as possible, in what was at least visually and optically a pretty traumatic knee-bend, hyperextension... I would say [I'm optimistic Antetokounmpo plays in the Finals]. I'm always optimistic. Giannis and I share delusional optimism together."

Through 15 games this postseason, Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks in points (28.2) and rebounds (12.7) per game. The 6-foot-11, 242-pounder has also recorded nine 30-point, 10-rebound games, the most in a single postseason since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000 (13), per ESPN Stats & Info.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals will take place at Phoenix Suns Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, Milwaukee currently has a 33-percent chance of winning its first NBA title since 1971.

The entire Bucks conversation between Feigin and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Stacy Revere / Staff / Getty Images