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“That Sh*t Hurt”: Damian Lillard Chimes In On Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Soleus Strain

Advait Jajodia

"That Sh*t Hurt": Damian Lillard Chimes In On Giannis Antetokounmpo's Soleus Strain

The Milwaukee Bucks were finally able to snap their four-game losing streak, clinching a dominant 104-91 victory against the in-form Boston Celtics. While fans will be pleased with the team’s win, the soleus strain that Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered takes all the excitement away. Explaining his own experience with the same injury, Damian Lillard stated that a soleus strain “hurt”.

During the third quarter of the Eastern Conference clash against the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo inbound the ball and was running toward the frontcourt. Suddenly, the Greek Freak fell down, grabbing his left calf. Soon after, the two-time MVP made his way to the locker room and didn’t return to the floor for the remainder of the contest.

At the beginning of the 2022-2023 season, Damian Lillard had also suffered a grade one strain on the soleus muscle after already having injured his calf a few weeks ago. While talking to the Bucks’ beat reporter Eric Nehm after the conclusion of the game, Lillard described his experience with the injury. Claiming to have a “high pain tolerance”, Dame stated that the injury “hurt”.

“That sh*t hurt. It hurt. And it makes sense that — When I did it, usually I’m able to walk things off. I feel like I have a high pain tolerance and when I did it, I started to walk, it wasn’t just that it was that painful, it was that the muscle just can’t handle it. So, I think once it calmed down, you kind of figured out a way to limp around it, but it’s a weird feeling,” Lillard said.

Later, Lillard moved on to talk about the topic that fans of the Wisconsin side would be more keen on learning – the recovery process and rehab time. In his experience, the sharpshooter said that he had to miss two weeks of action due to the soleus strain before returning to the lineup.

“I think it was like a game or two after I came back (from calf injury), I did my soleus. And then after that, it was like two weeks. For me, it was like two weeks and then I came back and played,” Lillard told Nehm.

If Antetokounmpo misses out on at least 2 weeks, the Bucks will have a difficult time retaining their 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference as they face the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Orlando Magic in their final three games of the regular season. If they do tumble down to as low as the #5 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, Doc Rivers’ boys will have a tough time in the first few games of the postseason.

Fans will eagerly be waiting for Antetokounmpo’s injury update. If the team’s statement isn’t positive, the Bucks will have an extremely difficult time replicating the same success they witnessed in 2021.

Doctor explains how long can a soleus strain keep Giannis Antetokounmpo out for

As soon as Giannis Antetokounmpo was accompanied to the locker room, NBA Twitter erupted with reactions. Among many other users were doctors who dished out their knowledge on Antetokounmpo’s injury.

According to Jeff Stotts, a certified athletic trainer, 17 days is the average time that a player loses due to a horrific soleus injury.

Dr. Evan Jeffries also provided an estimated timeline for the forward’s return upon the severity of the injury. Per the doctor of physical therapy, a Grade 1 strain could keep Giannis out for 1-2 weeks. Whereas, a Grade 2 strain can witness the Bucks being 3-6 weeks without their superstar. Ultimately, a Grade 3 strain will force the 2021 Finals MVP to miss out on the entirety of the playoff.

With Giannis eventually going to be missing a few games in the postseason, the Bucks will aim to finish the regular season as the #2 seed to face a relatively easier matchup in the first round. Even if Damian Lillard and co. were to lose a game or two in the 6ft 11” star’s absence, a comeback could always be possible.

About the author

Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia


Advait Jajodia, a seasoned NBA journalist, has had a passion for the game for over a decade. His journey from admiring Kobe Bryant's precision to being in awe of Stephen Curry's long-range mastery instilled a profound understanding of basketball. With a background as a two-time National-level player, Advait uses his experience on the hardwood to offer insightful analysis. Over three years of dedicated sports journalism has equipped the 21-year-old with a unique perspective, reflected in his prolific portfolio of 3,700+ articles.

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