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NBA Finals: Bucks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo enters health and safety protocols; out for Game 5

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Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo is out for Game 5 of the NBA Finals as he enters the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to the team’s latest injury report. Antetokounmpo, older brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, has played only one minute and 33 seconds in the NBA Finals, all of which came in Game 3. No other Bucks players are known to be in the health and safety protocols at this time, and it is not clear how Antetokounmpo wound up in them.

The Suns are quite familiar with the impact the health and safety protocols can have in the middle of the postseason. They lost Chris Paul for the first two games of the Western Conference finals due to COVID-19. They managed to win those two games without him. Antetokounmpo’s absence is unlikely to affect the Bucks nearly as much, but after losing Jrue Holiday to the protocols earlier in the regular season, they too have experienced COVID-related absences. 

The Finals are currently tied 2-2 with Game 5 set for Saturday night. As scary as a possible COVID outbreak in the middle of the Finals might appear, the longest this series can last is six more days. Game 6 will be played on Tuesday, and Game 7, if necessary, will be only two days later on Thursday. The NBA only needs to get through two or three more games. If both teams follow the protocols diligently, they will hopefully be able to do so without further incident.

But COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise nationwide. Fans are fully back in arenas for this series. There is certainly risk involved for both teams, and that makes it imperative that they follow the protocols as closely as possible for the remainder of the series. 




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