Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo addresses his knee issues: 'I play too much'
In just five short years, Giannis Antetokounmpo has gone from unknown prospect to MVP candidate. He's perhaps the most unique player in the league, and also one of the best. As he propels their quest for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, he does it all for the Bucks, leading the way on both ends of the floor.
Things are going great for Giannis and the Bucks, but there is one slight issue. The Greek Freak has been having problems with his right knee. Last summer, he did not play in EuroBasket with Greece because of his knee, and so far this season he's missed four games due to knee soreness.
There have often been complaints from Bucks fans that Giannis plays too many minutes -- especially in light of his recent knee trouble. Now, Giannis himself has agreed. During an interview with Eurohoops TV, Giannis said that the problem with his knee is due to playing too much. He says that is both in the offseason and during games.
The conversation (which begins about the 1:39 mark):
Giannis: The situation with my knee is better now. I have a group of people who have helped me.
Reporter: What do the doctors say?
Giannis: The problem is that I play too much.
Reporter: It's not another issue, right?
Giannis: No, it's just that I have to rest more. This summer I had no time to rest. After the playoffs I went straight to the gym. I went to see Kostas and practiced for about a week and a half with him. I didn't have any rest, and that's how, um ... the situation deteriorated. After this season I will have time to rest.
Reporter: When you started off the season you were in incredible shape. You averaged 35 points per game, then it was obvious you couldn't keep up. You missed two games and in the next two, your shape resembled the one you had at the beginning of the season. This can't be a coincidence.
Giannis: No it wasn't. I had time to rest. And when I was back in better shape I wanted to show my team and teammates that. They know I'm in pain. When I play for 40 minutes every night, they say 'how is he in pain? He can play.' But I showed to my teammates when I said, 'guys, I will stay off for two games, and I will return in better shape.'
Giannis has long been noted to have a ridiculous work ethic and commitment to the game. Whether it's after practice, on "off days," or in the summer, he is constantly putting in extra work. That, combined with the heavy load he faces in the regular season is clearly taking a toll.
This season, Giannis is second in the league, averaging 37 minutes a night, and he's averaged over 35 minutes in each of the last two seasons. His workload has gone down slightly since Joe Prunty took over for Jason Kidd, but even still, he's playing 35.4 minutes per game since the change.
Hopefully the Bucks will continue to manage Giannis' soreness, giving him days off when he needs them, and this will not turn into a more serious problem.