Giannis Antetokounmpo to play for Greece in September
Through much of the last several years, Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has made a concerted effort to be a part of the Greece men’s national team. However, his time has been limited over the last couple of years due to lingering health issues with his right knee.
This had flared up from time to time during the regular season and is likely hoping to use the offseason to gather the necessary rest. It has led to Greek national team head coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos to reveal during an interview with a Greek radio station Sport-FM that Antetokounmpo is expected to miss the entire World Cup qualifier games in June-July and will join them in August, according to Eurohoops.net.
“We are in contact with Giannis’ representatives. But now is not the right moment for his return [to the national team]. We look at it for September. There is no problem with Giannis and we’re expecting him in September. He should rest to soothe his leg. It has been a very tiring season for him. He ‘ll get ready and will be healthy and prepared in September. And Giannis wants it [playing for the national team] a lot.”
There has been no clarity to what extent that Antetokounmpo is dealing with any nagging issues with his knee, but it has given him enough reason to miss the entire qualifying round for the World Cup. The absence of the 23-year-old is a significant blow given that he is the team’s unquestioned best player and driving force.
That said, Greece is currently in first place in Group H with a 4-0 record that will push them to Group L for the next round where the team will face the likes of Germany, Serbia, and Georgia. In that format, the top three teams in the group will advance to the World Cup while the bottom three finishers will be put into EuroBasket qualifiers.
This shouldn’t draw any concern from Greece or Bucks fans that Antetokounmpo is taking a bit of a break to allow his right knee to get the rest it requires.