Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is inactive for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Tuesday against the Miami Heat because of a sprained right ankle.
Antetokounmpo clearly tried to get himself ready for Game 5. He was on the court about two hours before game time, getting some shots up, then did more strength and flexibility work with a member of the Bucks’ staff.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer watched the on-court session closely, before the team made the final decision.
“It’s just always good to see it with your eyes,” Budenholzer said.
Antetokounmpo reinjured the ankle in the first half of Game 4, which Milwaukee rallied to win in overtime. He also participated in a light, stationary practice Monday.
Antetokounmpo’s warm-up Tuesday was short and largely stationary without much lateral movement, which is typically a part of his normal routine. The reigning league MVP had been officially listed as questionable, and Budenholzer said earlier Tuesday that he would be a game-time decision.
Milwaukee trails the best-of-seven series 3-1, and All-Star Khris Middleton will be expected to play heavy minutes after his 36-point performance Sunday. Budenholzer said the rest of the team also will be counted on to pick up the slack without Antetokounmpo.
“We need Brook (Lopez) and Eric Bledsoe and everybody else to step up and just play basketball,” Budenholzer said ahead of Game 5. “Where there’s opportunities to drive, attack, shoot, play, share it with each other, compete with each other, play together. I think it’s gonna take a little bit of everybody.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.