Bucks reject Giannis Antetokounmpo as Pacers starter

MILWAUKEE — Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will not play in Game 1 of the Bucks' first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night, coach Doc Rivers said two hours before tipoff.

Antetokounmpo hasn't played since April 9, sitting out Milwaukee's final three regular-season games with a strained calf.

The Bucks are hopeful Antetokounmpo's injury treatment will allow him to return later in the series, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Rivers, meanwhile, said he still has no clarity on the timeline of the injury.

“We prepare with what's on the floor,” Rivers said before Game 1. “Giannis has put in a lot of work. He's shooting, he's running back, he's been good, but he hasn't been able to participate.”

Injuries have kept Antetokounmpo out of the playoffs for the second straight season. He suffered a back injury in the first game of the 2023 playoffs and was sidelined for the next two games against the Miami Heat. He returned for Game 4, but the Bucs lost the series in five games.

Antetokounmpo averaged 42.2 points and 13 rebounds in Milwaukee's five regular-season meetings with Indiana. He scored a franchise record 64 points in the Bucks' only win against the Pacers.

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The Bucs went 4-5 without Antetokounmpo during the regular season.

“We really prepared this week with what we had,” Rivers said.

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