Report: There’s optimism Giannis Antetokounmpo will return for Game 2 vs. Miami Heat

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According to NBA insider Shams Charania, there’s optimism that Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will be able to play Wednesday night against the Miami Heat.

Antetokounmpo suffered a back injury on Sunday after a collision with the Heat’s Kevin Love. After leaving the court for treatment, he returned for only a short time before sitting out the remainder of the contest, though the Bucks did express optimism about Antetokounmpo’s status after the game.

The Bucks desperately need Antetokounmpo back after being stunned by the Heat in a 130-117 loss. That’s because another loss at home would put the Bucks down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, with the next two games in Miami.

Antetokounmpo is the central component to a Bucks team that’s seeking to capture its second title in the past three seasons. During that 2021 championship run, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to a title and was rewarded with a Finals MVP.

Yet, beyond his leadership, Antetokounmpo delivers major numbers when he’s on the court. During this year’s regular season, he averaged 31.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, the sixth consecutive season that he’s averaged a double-double over the course of a campaign.

In addition to those numbers, Antetokounmpo has averaged nearly six assists per game, finishing the 2022-23 regular season with 5.7 per contest.

If those numbers weren’t impressive enough, Antetokounmpo has also been recognized over multiple seasons for his prowess on the defensive side of the ball. Those efforts help explain why he was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season

Though Antetokounmpo’s absence would undoubtedly help the Heat’s chances of going up 2-0 in the series, they have their own injury concern to deal with at the moment.

Guard Tyler Herro sustained a broken right hand during Sunday’s contest, a huge blow to the team. Herro is expected to miss four to six weeks, with other more ominous reports stating that his season is over.

Regardless of when Herro returns, the Heat need to find someone who can deliver the type of offensive production that Herro has given during his NBA career.

During this year’s regular season, Herro has been a regular in the starting lineup and averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Filling that hole will serve as a stiff challenge to the Heat’s hopes of making a deep playoff run.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.