‘This is like the best case scenario’: Athletic Trainer breaks down Giannis’ injury diagnosis, chances for return

MADISON, Wis. – After leaving Tuesday night’s Game Four against the Atlanta Hawks with an apparent knee injury, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MRI’s have come back revealing no ligament damage.

Dr. Dave Bell, an athletic trainer and Associate Professor of Kinesiology at UW-Madison, says this is good news not just in the short run, but the long run, too.

“There’s four big ligaments that are in your knee- The ACL, the PCL, the MCL and the LCL,”  Bell said. “When I first saw that hyperextension, I was very concerned. Usually when your knee hyperextends, the ligaments are the thing holding that together. When your knee extends, all of those ligaments become really tight, and when it goes the wrong direction, hyperextends, one of the consequences of that could be a ligament tear.”

Bell says a number of factors played a role in the injury not being more severe than it was.

“It’s mostly luck that the forces on his knee weren’t greater, but I think it’s a little bit on how strong he is,” he said. “Most people that happens to, they’re probably tearing their ACL and probably having some capsular damage.”

Despite the positive diagnosis, a return to the playoffs, perhaps during the Finals should the Bucks advance, is still dependent on other dynamics of the injury itself, including the severity of possible bone bruising, Bell says.

The long term prospects for his knee are great,” he said. “I think that’s one of the most important things. Unfortunately, it’s an injury. You can’t speed up biology. It’s going to take a little big of time for him to heal. We just have to put our trust in the medical team knowing they’re going to make the best possible decision not only for the team, but for him long term.”