NBA Playoffs Injury Update: Giannis, Joel Embiid & Kawhi Leonard

Injury

The last few weeks of the NBA have been an absolute war zone, with key players going down with injury.

Let’s take a look at how some of those injuries are tracking.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO

The Bucks are missing their star player Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the franchise managed to get it a W without him thanks to a Game 1 clinic from Damian Lillard.

Antetokounmpo hasn’t taken the court since April 9, due to a calf strain injury. 

The Bucks are hoping that Giannis will be able to return sometime later in the series, since the usual recovery time from a calf strain is around one to two weeks minimum.

Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers was unable to provide a timeline to return.

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

JOEL EMBIID

Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Monday’s Game 2 first-round series against the Knicks due to left knee “injury recovery”.

Embiid re-aggravated the knee injury he had just returned from in Game 1 when he threw down a wild one-handed dunk for himself off the backboard then collided with the opposition and landed hard.

Nick Nurse was asked by reporters after Sunday’s practice how Embiid’s knee was going, to which he answered,“Uh, pretty good, I think. I asked him how he was feeling, he said ‘pretty good’.”

After Saturday’s 111-104 Game 1 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Nurse said there are no plans to shut down the reigning MVP.

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“He really is a warrior, and he’s battling,” Nurse said, via ESPN. “I think he absolutely wants to play.”

KAWHI LEONARD

Kawhi Leonard missed Game 1 against Dallas due to knee inflammation, but the Clippers still got the 109-97 win thanks to a vintage performance from James Harden.

Ty Lue and the Clippers organization remain pretty tight lipped about Kawhi’s injury, though Lue did express uncertainty about “whether Leonard could miss Game 2 on Tuesday and possibly beyond”, according to NBA insider Mark Medina. 

The day before Game 1, Lue also shared with reporters that Leonard was participating in shooting drills, but hasn’t done any contact practice as yet.

Paul George said of his injured teammate after Game 1, “Kawhi obviously is the piece we do need if we plan on winning it all and getting to where we want to get to. But we’re going to hold it down for him until he’s ready to return. We feel comfortable with where we’re at.”

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