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Bucks' Lillard has MRI, team awaiting results before deciding if he plays in Game 4 vs. Pacers

Milwaukee Bucks Damian Lillard - The Canadian Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Damian Lillard underwent an MRI to determine the severity of his Achilles tendon injury, and the Milwaukee Bucks could be without the star guard for Game 4 of their playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, coach Doc Rivers said Saturday.

Lillard greeted reporters as he strolled through an Indianapolis hotel wearing a walking boot on his right foot, but he did not take questions. Officially, Lillard and two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo are both listed as doubtful for Sunday.

“We don't know yet. Not looking great but we don't know yet,” Rivers said when asked about Lillard's status for Sunday. “They're going to give us the test results soon, so we should know a little later today.”

Milwaukee was 1-8 when Lillard didn’t start a game in the regular season.

Lillard was clearly limping at times during the Bucks’ 121-118 overtime loss at Indiana on Friday night. The eight-time All-Star twisted his left knee when Pacers forward Pascal Siakam stepped on his foot in the first quarter. He stayed on the ground briefly before going to the locker room.

The 33-year-old Lillard returned in the second quarter and finished with 28 points and eight assists while going 6 of 20 from the field.

After the game, Lillard said he also hurt an Achilles tendon late in regulation. He scored two points, both on free throws and none in overtime, over the final 10 minutes Friday as Milwaukee fell into a 2-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series.

Lillard's injury means Milwaukee could be without its top two players for Game 4.

Antetokounmpo hasn't played since straining his left calf April 9. Rivers said Antetokounmpo could be cleared for Game 4, though he believes it's unlikely.

“Today is his day off so he's going to go hard early (Sunday) and then we're going to make a decision after that,” Rivers said before being asked directly whether Antetokounmpo might play. “I doubt it, but we'll see.”

The Bucks did get some promising news Saturday.

Rivers said Khris Middleton — who finished with a playoff-career high 42 points in Game 3 — appeared to be feeling well after playing 41 minutes on the sprained right ankle that kept him out of Thursday's practice.

“He felt great,” Rivers said. “Obviously, you've got to go to sleep and wake up in the morning and I'm looking around and don't see a lot of old guys — a couple of us — you know how when we wake up our body feels, so we have to wait for Khris to wake up in the morning. The good news is there wasn't a lot of swelling, and he said he felt better as the game went on.”

Dealing with postseason injuries is nothing new for the Bucks.

A sprained ankle kept Antetokounmpo out of the final 1 1/2 games of a 2020 second-round loss to Miami. He also missed the final two games of the 2021 Eastern Conference finals with a hyperextended knee. Antetokounmpo returned against Phoenix and was voted the NBA Finals MVP after scoring 50 points in a title-clinching Game 6 victory.

Middleton missed the Bucks’ last 10 playoff games in 2022 with a sprained medial collateral ligament, and Antetokounmpo left Game 1 of last year's first-round loss to Miami with a bruised lower back that also kept him out of Games 2 and 3.

The Bucks are facing a similar scenario Sunday.

“We have 24 hours to work on that and figure it out,” Rivers said. “In the past, without him (Lillard), we've had Giannis at the point. If he doesn't play, you have to just figure out something. We have guys. There are certain ways in the motion offense we can play, we've worked a little bit on that, so we'll be ready.”