Giannis Antetokounmpo Exits Protocols, Expected To Play Saturday

DECEMBER 25, 8:53am: Antetokounmpo is expected to return to action for the Bucks on Saturday after missing the team’s last five games, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter).

DECEMBER 24, 12:17pm: Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Lowe and Wojnarowski, Antetokounmpo is expected to get on the court today and make a decision tomorrow about whether he’ll be able to suit up for the Bucks in their Christmas Day game vs. Boston. The two-time MVP will have to pass cardiac tests before he’s cleared to return following his stint in the health and safety protocols.

Although Giannis still has a chance to play on Saturday, it appears the same can’t be said for Hawks star Trae Young. League sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that Young isn’t expected to be cleared in time to be activated for Atlanta’s Christmas Day contest in New York.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events, given the burgeoning rivalry that Young and the Hawks have established with the Knicks and the fans in New York. However, it doesn’t come as a surprise — Young just entered the COVID-19 protocols five days ago, so the odds of him testing out this quickly were low unless his initial test was a false positive.

In addition to not having to face Young on Saturday, the Knicks also may get some additional reinforcements, as guard Immanuel Quickley has exited the protocols, per the team (Twitter link). New York now has just three players still in the protocolsKevin Knox, Nerlens Noel, and Miles McBride.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau did caution today that Quickley may not be ready to play on Christmas, but said RJ Barrett, who also exited the protocols this week, has a better chance to be active (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN).

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