Milwaukee Bucks Will Have Everyone “Ready To Go” For Training Camp

Amid the Milwaukee Bucks’ triumphant march to an NBA Championship in 2021, a persistent adversary has loomed in the shadows: the injury bug. It reared its head ominously in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals when Giannis Antetokounmpo knee took a regrettable fall in Game 4. A miraculous recovery was his only path back to the NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, injury woes proved insurmountable in the following two postseason runs.

In the 2021-22 season, Brook Lopez’s back ailment kept him sidelined for the majority of the regular season, and he only managed to rejoin the fray in time for the playoffs.

Yet, a fresh challenge emerged when Khris Middleton sustained a knee injury during Game 2 of the First Round series against the Chicago Bulls. Despite Antetokounmpo donning the cape of Superman and going above and beyond, the Bucks found themselves one shotmaker short, and the Boston Celtics ultimately dashed their hopes in a seven-game thriller.

That injury to Middleton had a lingering effect, extending its icy grasp into the heart of the 2022-23 regular season. Middleton’s return was delayed until the early days of December, and he spent the season grappling with multiple ailments, playing a mere 33 games.

As fate would have it, the 2022-23 playoffs witnessed a cruel twist. Just as Middleton appeared to be regaining his full powers for the Bucks’ First Round bout against the Miami Heat, it was Antetokounmpo’s turn to face the injury bug. A grim back injury struck in the opening minutes of Game 1, sidelined the Greek Freak until Game 4.

As the Bucks’ core ages and Antetokounmpo continues to exert immense pressure on the franchise to secure another championship, one glaring need looms large: sustained health.

The good news, however, is that the Bucks seem poised to begin their training camp with a clean bill of health. New head coach Adrian Griffin offered assurance during a conversation with The Athletic at the Bucks Foundation Golf Outing, stating that he anticipates the entire roster will be “ready to go” as training camp tips off.

This announcement carries considerable weight, especially in light of the offseason procedures undergone by both Antetokounmpo and Middleton, whose growing injury history has sparked concern. While it may appear to be a small step, it signifies a substantial improvement over the previous season when the Bucks grappled with the absence of Middleton and Joe Ingles, who weren’t expected to return until several months into the campaign.

Although the Bucks’ core has shared the court for several seasons, the need for court time together remains paramount, particularly as they adapt to Griffin’s new strategic approach. While the specifics of Milwaukee’s transformation remain shrouded in mystery, it’s reasonable to anticipate increased defensive flexibility, characterized by switching and other aggressive schemes. Offensively, Griffin will likely prioritize enhanced ball and player movement to make it more difficult for opposing defenses to lock in on Antetokounmpo.

Mastering these new philosophies becomes considerably more challenging when players are relegated to the trainer’s table for treatment. Thus, Milwaukee finds itself at a pivotal juncture, compelled to prioritize the health of its players and to hope Lady Luck is on their side this season. For in the NBA, as in life, the old adage holds true: availability is the best ability.

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