MIAMI (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo is back in the Milwaukee Bucks’ lineup.
He was cleared to play in Monday night’s Game 4 of an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series between the top-seeded Bucks and eighth-seeded Miami Heat.
Antetokounmpo missed Games 2 and 3 of the series — and most of Game 1 — with a bruised lower back. The Bucks trailed the series 2-1 entering Monday’s contest.
“He’s warming up and we expect him to play,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said about 90 minutes before game time.
Antetokounmpo is a two-time NBA MVP and one of three finalists for the award this season. He averaged 31.1 points this season, fifth-best in the NBA, along with 11.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists.
“He’s ready to go,” Budenholzer said.
Antetokounmpo got hurt late in the opening quarter of Game 1, landing on his back after twisting in the air while trying to avoid Miami’s Kevin Love on a drive to the basket. Love was attempting to take a charge on the play.
Antetokounmpo left the game briefly, tried to return, then left again and was ruled out for the rest of that contest. The Bucks won Game 2 without him, then lost Game 3 in Miami as he remained sidelined.
Miami will be without Tyler Herro (broken hand in Game 1) and Victor Oladipo (torn left patellar tendon in Game 3) for the remainder of the series. The Bucks were without Wesley Matthews (strained right calf) for the third consecutive game Monday.
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