TWO-TIME MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is uncertain to play for Greece in the FIBA World Cup, according to NBA writer Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Antetokounmpo, the “Greek Freak” who led Greece at the 2019 World Cup in China, underwent a cleanup procedure on his left knee two weeks ago.
But while Milwaukee head coach Adrian Griffin said everything went as planned and expects the Bucks forward to be ready for training camp early September, a source confirmed to The Athletic that Antetokounmpo’s availability for Greece is “in question after the surgery to clean up loose cartilage in his left knee.”
Antetokounmpo, who plays for Greece along with his brothers Thanasis and Kostas, could be the third high-profile NBA player missing the World Cup.
Rui Hachimura of the Los Angeles Lakers and 2023 NBA No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs have already declared their ineligibility to play for their respective federations, Japan and France.
The Greek superstar suffered a lower back injury during the Bucks’ first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat.
Although the 6-9 power-forward, who took MVP honors for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020, managed to return in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series, the top seeded Bucks were upset by the Heat.
Before news of Antetokounmpo’s surgery came out, the 28-year superstar is expected to power world No. 8 Greece against the United States, New Zealand and Jordan in Group C of the preliminaries of the FIBA World Cup scheduled scheduled Aug. 25-Sept .10.
Greece will make its debut in the group phase against No. 33 Jordan on Aug. 26 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Greece will then play the United States on Aug. 28 before wrapping up the first round against No. 26 New Zealand on Aug. 30.
If successful, Greece will advance to the second round against the two teams from Group D made up of No. 8. Lithuania, No. 18 Montenegro, No. 31 Mexico and No. 55 Egypt.
With or without Antetokounmpo, basketball fans will be able to witness Greece in action live for as low as P999 for a day pass, covering two exciting, world-class basketball games.
Day passes and other ticket packages are already on sale at https://philippines-ticketing.worldcup.basketball/.