There is a sense of worry surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks as they prepare for their first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. In addition to having thoughts about last year's first-round exit to the Miami Heat, as well as the Pacers defeating them four out of five times during the regular season, the Bucks are faced with a lot of uncertainty surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo's availability due to his calf injury.

In one of their final games of the year, Giannis suffered a non-contact left calf injury against the Boston Celtics on April 9. After leaving the game, the Bucks announced that the superstar suffered a left soleus strain. Although further imaging didn't show any major damage other than his calf strain, Antetokounmpo won't be playing in Game 1 against the Pacers on Sunday. Whether or not he will be able to return at any point in this series remains a major mystery.

If Giannis is to miss Game 1 of this series, will he be able to get back out on the court and return from his calf injury at any point against the Pacers? Not only is his status in doubt to begin this series against Indiana, but Antetokounmpo could be out anywhere from 2-4 weeks based on how his body responds to daily treatment, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Throughout the regular season, Giannis has dealt with Achilles tendinitis. He also battled through hamstring tightness during portions of the season. The Bucks must operate with a level of caution pertaining to their star's health, yet another first-round exit could be catastrophic to the organization.

Bucks' playoff outlook without Giannis Antetokounmpo

 Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) shoots the ball while Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) defends in the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis not being available for Game 1 of this series in Milwaukee on Sunday is game-changing. In the five games the Bucks played against the Pacers this season, Antetokounmpo averaged 42.2 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. He even recorded a franchise-record 64 points against Indiana on December 13, a game that ended in a massive search and scuffle over which team took the game ball.

The Bucks need Antetokounmpo on the floor if they are to be championship contenders. However, they can't risk playing him with an injured calf due to the devastating impact this could have. In 2019, Kevin Durant returned during the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors after missing a chunk of time with a calf injury, and he ended up suffering a torn Achilles. This is definitely something that has to be in the back of the Bucks' minds right now, which is why they are operating with a level of caution.

The stakes are very high for the Bucks right now. Not only do they need to avenge their first-round loss to the Heat last season, but from a moral standpoint, they can't lose another game to the Pacers this season. Not to mention, a loss after trading for Damian Lillard and re-signing Brook Lopez would send the Bucks into the offseason with major questions to answer about the direction of the franchise.

At this point, there is really no telling as to when Giannis could return to the court. The Bucks are approaching his injury with a day-to-day mindset, and they will continue to ramp up his activities based on his response to treatment. There is a possibility that he could miss the entirety of their first-round series against the Pacers. Then again, Antetokounmpo could feel good enough to return in Game 2 or Game 3.

There is no telling as to what the immediate future holds for Giannis and the Bucks, which is why their playoff series against the Pacers may just be the one that holds the greatest impact on the NBA Playoffs as a whole.