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Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has announced that he will not play in the upcoming FIBA World Cup as continues to recover from knee surgery.
It’s safe to say that that’s a big blow to Greece’s chances in the tournament.
The Greece national basketball team will play the United States, Jordan, and New Zealand in the group stage when the tournament gets underway in Manila later this month.
Now, unfortunately, they’ll be without their best player.
According to the Associated Press, on Friday, Antetokounmpo released a statement announcing that he won’t play at the tournament. In it, he said he doesn’t believe he’s physically ready to compete in time for the World Cup.
“Everyone knows my passion and love for my national team has and never will change,” he wrote. “Since the conclusion of my NBA season I have been pushing my body to the limits to be the player I need to be to help our team achieve the goals we set. But after months of work and multiple meetings with medical staff it is clear that I am not ready to compete in the level that I need to be to participate in the World Cup.”
Antetokounmpo Dealt With Knee Issues Last Season
Antetokounmpo missed 11 games last season with soreness in his left knee. However, the Bucks believe that the surgery he had this offseason should have him ready for training camp.
Maybe it’s true that Antetokounmpo doesn’t feel well enough to play in the World Cup. But even if he felt fine to compete, the Bucks would probably rather that he doesn’t risk it. Especially just a few weeks before training camp begins.
“This was not a choice but my only option in ensuring I get back to the level of basketball I have worked so hard to achieve so far in my career,” Antetokounmpo said.
While the Bucks star won’t represent his country this time around, he said he’ll be ready to jump at the next opportunity.
“I am extremely disappointed in this outcome but this was a decision made with the medical staff. I’m going to continue to push myself to be ready for the next time my name is called.”
The FIBA World Cup begins on August 25 and will take place in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan.
Follow on X: @Matt_Reigle