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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo will not play in Game 1 of the team's first-round playoff series versus the Indiana Pacers on Sunday due to a calf strain. Rivers said that Antetokounmpo is back on the floor for individual work, but does not have any clarity on when he could return to game action. 

"He looks better for sure," Rivers said. "Giannis has done a lot of work. He's shooting, he's running again, he looks good, but he hasn't been able to participate. So we've really prepared this week with what we have."

Bucks president Peter Feigin told a local radio show on Thursday that "We expect Giannis to be back in the playoffs, not really sure when." That follows a report from Adrian Wojnarowski earlier in the week that the Bucks were expecting to be without Antetkounmpo for the start of the first round, but hoped to have him back at some point during the series. 

Antetokounmpo missed the Bucks' final three regular-season games after getting injured on April 9. The injury occurred late in the third quarter of the Bucks' win over the Boston Celtics. Antetokounmpo inbounded the ball to Damian Lillard and began jogging down the court when he suddenly collapsed and grabbed for his lower left leg. He was helped back to the locker room, and an MRI subsequently revealed that he had strained his calf but avoided Achilles tendon damage. 

The Bucks announced he would not play in the remainder of the regular season but did not offer a timeline beyond that. Likewise, Rivers was unwilling or unable to provide any clarity on when the two-time MVP would be back on the court. He did, however, say that the results of the MRI offered "some relief" around the organization. 

Since Antetokounmpo won his first MVP award in 2018-19, the Bucks are 39-40 without him in the lineup, including the playoffs. Milwaukee went 4-5 this season with Antetokounmpo sidelined.

Prior to the incident versus the Celtics, Antetokounmpo had missed only six games all season. He had been battling nagging injuries for months, however, including Achilles tendnitis and hamstring tendinopathy -- both in his left leg. "Calves, hamstrings, they're shaky," Antetokounmpo said after a win over the Sixers on March 14. "If you have a strain or whatever the case may be... you don't mess with stuff like that."

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks may soon have to take a risk, however, or risk watching another season fade away due to injuries. The Bucks' title defense in 2022 ended in the second round without Khris Middleton, and Antetokounmpo's back injury played a major role in their first-round exit last season. 

In 73 games this season, Antetokounmpo averaged 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and a career-high 6.5 assists on 61.1% shooting from the field. He finished second in the league in scoring, seventh in field goal percentage and was the only player to average at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. 

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