June 23, 2024

Giannis Antetokounmpo will play in pre-Olympic qualifying tournament, Greece coach says

Following his team’s club game in Greece on Saturday, Greek national team coach Vassilis Spanoulis told reporters Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will play for the Greek national team in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament from July 2-7.

Antetokounmpo suffered a left soleus strain against the Boston Celtics on April 9. That injury forced him to miss the Bucks’ final three regular-season games, as well as the Bucks’ first-round series against the Indiana Pacers.

“The day of Game 4 in Indiana, that was the first time I was able to jog on my body weight since April 9,” Antetokounmpo told reporters on May 3 following the Bucks’ loss to the Pacers. “So, I think I tried my best to come back to help my teammates. It’s kind of hard to see them being out there and not being able to help them. But I just couldn’t. I did all the tests I had to do, like these protocols you have to follow and have to check the boxes, and I wasn’t even close (to) checking the boxes.

“But I was trying to push myself and push myself and push myself to get to a place where maybe I can’t check the boxes, but maybe I can even go out there and help, but in our opinion, it was not safe for me to be out there because I couldn’t run full speed. I could run only 30, 40 percent. Even now, I can’t run full speed. Probably going to take a few days, weeks, whatever months I don’t know how long it’ll take until I get back to whatever I need to get back to.”

Greece has not yet qualified for the upcoming Olympics basketball tournament and would need to win the six-team pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Greece at the start of July to grab one of the 12 spots in Paris.

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(Photo: Andy Lyons / Getty Images)