May 30, 2024

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Damian Lillard is questionable, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is questionable for Game 6

Damian Lillard is questionable, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is questionable for Game 6

Damian Lillard (left) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (right) talk with Jae Crowder after the Bucks' Game 5 win.

Milwaukee Bucks coach Doc Rivers continues to express his hope that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard will return from injury before the end of their first-round matchup in the Eastern Conference with the Indiana Pacers.

The Bucks played without their best player again and kept their season alive with 115-92 win the fifth game Tuesday night. Rivers was then asked about the potential availability of Antetokounmpo and Lillard for the remainder of the series.

As of Thursday afternoon Injury reportLillard was listed as questionable and Antetokounmpo was questionable for Game 6 (6:30 ET, TNT). ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski Reports The duo is working to return for Game 6, but it's unclear if either will be able to do so.

“I don’t know how to answer that,” Rivers said. “I know I hope. I think they're very, very, very close.”

Antetokounmpo is dealing with a strained left calf muscle that has kept him out the entire series. Lillard injured his Achilles tendon during the Bucks game 121-118 Losing Game 3 in overtime Friday.

The Bucks survived a must-win game without them on Tuesday. The Pacers still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Thursday in Indianapolis.

Antetokounmpo has not played since Left calf strain in April 9 victory Against Boston Celtics. The two-time Kia MVP struggled to get on the court in the third quarter of that game when Grab his left leg He sat on the floor before finally heading to the locker room. An MRI revealed muscle tension.

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Lillard twisted his left knee in the first quarter of Game 3, went to the locker room and returned to the game, then injured his Achilles tendon late in the fourth quarter. The seven-time NBA guard never played for the Bucks 126-113 Losing the fourth game Sunday.

They were both watching from the sidelines during Game 5.

“They are interested,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said. “They cheer us on, they encourage us. When they see a little thing in the game, they talk to us about it. They cheer us on. … It's great to have their support on the bench. I hope they're there with us, but in time, hopefully they'll be there soon.”

Milwaukee was able to avoid elimination thanks in large part to Middleton, who has scored at least 25 points in each of the Bucks' last three games despite suffering a sprained right ankle. He will likely participate in the sixth game.

Middleton scored 42 points in the Game 3 overtime loss and had 25 more when the Bucks fell in Game 4. He followed that up with 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists on Tuesday.

“He gave us everything tonight,” Rivers said.

Other dollars also rose on Tuesday. Bobby Portis rebounded from a Game 4 ejection to collect 29 points and 10 rebounds. Patrick Beverley dominated the right oblique and scored 13 points and 12 assists. Pat Connaughton had his best game of the series with nine points and four assists.

They're hoping to keep this streak going long enough for Antetokounmpo and Lillard to return.

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Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.