NBA Rumors: A premature return window as Giannis Antetokounmpo avoids serious injury

Giannis Antetokounmpo appears to have avoided a major injury. That said, he's still expected to miss time. When could he make his return?
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: Giannis Antetokounmpo avoided a major injury but is still expected to miss some time. We outline a fair window of when Giannis could return from injury.

When Giannis Antetokounmpo went down with a non-contract lower leg injury in the third quarter in a game against the Boston Celtics Tuesday night, just days before the end of the regular season, it was only natural to expect the worst. However, many Milwaukee Bucks fans woke up to tremendous news as according to multiple outlets, Giannis avoided an Achilles injury. With the way the initial injury looked and was labeled, that was the ultimate fear.

Even though Giannis seemed to have avoided a major injury, there still has to be at least some concern for him when it comes to being ready before the start of the NBA Playoffs. The Bucks don't necessarily need him back before the regular season but, no matter who they face in a potential first-round series, there's no question that they're going to need Giannis.

How much time will Giannis Antetokounmpo miss due to injury?

While return timelines for calf injuries are almost impossible to predict, The Athletic's Shams Charania did give some initial insight into how long Giannis could be out for. Naturally, the Bucks are expected to miss 1-2 weeks (in the words of Shams). Depending on the severity of the injury, Giannis could miss a little more or less time.

If the calf injury is bad enough, there's even a chance that Giannis will end up missing a month, or perhaps more. Under normal circumstances, however, Giannis probably will miss 7-10 days. The Bucks could play it safe and keep him out the full two weeks but much of that will depend on not only who the team draws in the first round but also how they're playing to start the playoffs.

With three games left in the season, the Bucks are likely going to finish as the No. 2 or 3 seed. Much of that will depend on how much the team struggles without Giannis. The fact that they were able to finish off the Celtics even after Giannis' injury gives the team hope that they could close the year out strong.

But the difference in the Bucks finishing as the No. 2 or 3 seed could be huge. If Milwaukee finishes as the No. 2 seed, they're likely going to play the Philadelphia 76ers or Miami Heat (the winner of that Play-In Tournament game) in the first round. If they finish as the No. 3 seed, the Bucks will likely see the Indiana Pacers.

Neither of those matchups seem like a walk in the park for Milwaukee, especially considering that they've dropped six of their last eight games. The Bucks are also just 6-5 against those three teams combined. With the NBA Playoffs starting 10 days from today, on April 20, there's a very real chance Giannis could miss the first game or two of their first-round series. It's certainly something to keep a close eye on.

For a team that was already dealing with their own individual struggles, the injury of Giannis doesn't make anything easier heading into the NBA Playoffs.

Next. Mock Draft 10.0 . NBA Mock Draft 10.0: Tanking Raptors find top 10 gem; Dalton Knecht soars. dark