Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo 'scared' by hard fall, ankle sprain
PORTLAND, Ore. -- For the second time in three days, the Bucks nervously circled up on the court after one of their franchise building blocks crashed awkwardly out of the air while driving to the hoop.
Milwaukee faced the worst possible news when Jabari Parker suffered a season-ending torn left ACL after a fall on Monday in a win against the Suns. The situation appears to be considerably less dire for second-year forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was forced from action with a sprained ankle during a 104-97 road loss to the Blazers on Wednesday.
With just seconds remaining before halftime, Antetokounmpo seemingly fell out of the air on his way to a potential dunk, even though he did not absorb any contact. Replays showed his left ankle rolled over as he attempted to plant, and he remained on the court as the Bucks took a timeout to attend to him.
"I was scared," Antetokounmpo admitted afterward. "The first time I twisted my ankle was in Brooklyn, so I had that experience and it was the same foot. When I fell hard this time, I immediately felt a lot of pain."
Eventually, Antetokounmpo was able to get up and walk to the locker room under his own power, but his night would end there. He did not return for the second half, departing with 10 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes.
"I want to play with my team but with everything that happened, we just have to protect me," he said.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd praised Antetokounmpo for attempting to make a comeback in the second half.
"He tried at halftime. He got re-taped," Kidd said. "He tried [to come back]. He felt that he couldn't have the same effectiveness so we just thought we would hold him out and look at him tomorrow."
Milwaukee will continue its four-game road trip with visits to the Kings on Thursday and the Clippers on Saturday. Antetokounmpo will be re-evaluated on Thursday and his status against Sacramento is not yet known.
"We'll see," Kidd said. "He's a tough kid. We'll see how he feels tomorrow."
Antetokounmpo added: "We're just going to treat it carefully, put some ice on it. ... I don't like missing games, I try my best to be 100 percent, even if I'm not all the way there."
Without Parker, the second overall pick in the 2014 draft, Kidd was forced to use small-ball starting lineup with Jared Dudley at small forward and Antetokounmpo at power forward. Forwards Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson are also currently sidelined with injuries. If Antetokounmpo does miss time, Kidd will likely be forced to start Dudley and Khris Middleton at the forward positions.
Antetokounmpo, 20, is averaging 12.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. A long-armed forward capable of playing multiple positions, the 2013 first-round pick has mesmerized fans and has flashed star potential this year. Antetokounmpo missed just five games last season and has appeared in all 26 of Milwaukee's games this season.
Although the Bucks understandably appeared to rush onto the court in a somewhat panicky fashion when Antetokounmpo fell, Kidd seemed to be breathing fairly easy afterward.
"When you have Jabari go down and then Giannis, you're hoping it's not serious," he said. We were just happy that it wasn't a big sprained ankle. ... You never want anyone to get hurt. It's a part of the game. ... Back-to-back, the two youngest players, you're a little nervous."
Milwaukee fell to 13-13 despite a team-high 24 points from Brandon Knight. Blazers guard Damian Lillard led all scorers with 29 points to help Portland improve to 20-6.