Giannis Antetokounmpo to miss Eurobasket tournament with knee injury

CHINA — A knee injury suffered two weeks ago in practice will keep Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo from competing in the upcoming FIBA Eurobasket tournament later this month.

Antetokounmpo was poised to lead the Greek national team in the tournament — something he pleased with Bucks management to allow him to do |but the results of an MRI revealed he will be unable to play.

The NBA’s 2016-17 Most Improved Player announced the news Saturday on his Facebook page, which has since been translated by Eurohoop:

I want everyone to be informed by me that I will not be able to play for the Greek national team in the upcoming Eurobasket. All this time I was pressuring myself to practice. I was trying to fool myself and not feel the pain, hoping that I will be ready for the official games. My will affected my judgement, but in the tests I took here in China with the Bucks personnel, it was time for the truth.

I failed in the tests I was put to and the reason was the pain I felt from the first seconds. I can accept the truth and deal with it in a mature manner. I have to work and improve as much as I can the condition of my knee.

Last summer I had the option to “freeze” the deal for my contract extension. This year I have no choice. I am injured, I feel pain and I must heal.

This is by far the biggest disappointment that I have felt until now in my career. I want to wish the best from the bottom of my heart to my teammates and coaches. The national team is my favorite team and in the future I will prove together with my teammates that we can achieve high goals and make all Greeks happy.

However, for now the present is the priority. I urge the fans to not give bigger proportions to my absense and to concentrate on the players who will fight in the upcoming Eurobasket for a success that has been missing for years. History is written by those who are present and I have with great sorrow to accept and announce that I will be absent.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Though no official diagnosis or timetable was revealed, the fact that Antetokounmpo referred to the injury as “the biggest disappointment…in my career” should leave Bucks fans worried about his health for the upcoming season.

The Eurobasket tourmament begins on Aug. 31 and concludes on Sept. 17.