Giannis Antetokounmpo to miss FIBA World Cup with Greece after knee surgery

Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to be fully available for the Bucks when the NBA season starts in October

Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to be fully available for the Bucks when the NBA season starts in October

Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t play for Greece in the FIBA World Cup this summer.

The Milwaukee Bucks star announced Friday on Instagram he will not play for the country in the tournament while he is recovering from knee surgery. He had been considered doubtful to play in the World Cup due to the surgery.

“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 wrote. “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. I am extremely disappointed in this outcome but this was a decision made with the medical staff.”

Antetokounmpo underwent surgery to clean up cartilage in his left knee in June. He returned to Greece two days later, but his status for the World Cup has been in doubt ever since.

While Antetokounmpo isn’t ready to play for Greece, he is still expected to be fully cleared to play for the Bucks when the NBA season tips off in October.

Antetokounmpo averaged a career-high 31.1 points with 11.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists last season with the Bucks. He injured his back in the playoffs and missed two games in their opening-round series against the Miami Heat. The Heat knocked the Bucks out in the first round and made it all the way to the NBA Finals.

The 28-year-old is set to enter the third year of his five-year, $228 million deal with Milwaukee this fall.

Giannis Antetokounmpo headshot
Giannis Antetokounmpo
PF - MIL - #34
2022 - 2023 season

Antetokounmpo is the latest to back out of the World Cup. Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić announced last month that he wouldn’t compete with Serbia in the tournament following their NBA title run.

The World Cup is set to start on Aug. 25 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Seven teams will earn bids to the 2024 Paris Olympics through the tournament.

Though Antetokounmpo isn’t playing this summer, he’s already eyeing a return to international play and getting the Greek team to France.

“I’m going to continue to push myself to be ready for the next time my name is called,” Antetokounmpo wrote. “My personal, and our ultimate team goal is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics games and it will be an honor to represent my National Team next year.”