Giannis Antetokounmpo clears COVID protocols ahead of Bucks' Christmas matchup vs. Celtics

·2-min read

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis were not listed on the Milwaukee Bucks injury report on Friday after both were previously in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

The status update could clear the way for one or both to play in Milwaukee's Christmas matchup against the Boston Celtics. The Bucks didn't address either player's status on Friday beyond the injury report. Both will presumably need to demonstrate that they're in game shape to suit up on Saturday. Donte DiVincenzo remains in COVID-19 protocols, while Brook Lopez remains sidelined with a back injury. 

Antetokounmpo's potential return would be a big boost for the NBA's Christmas slate that's already missing several players who remain in COVID-19 protocols, including Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant. Antetokounmpo has missed the last five Bucks games in protocols while Portis has missed four. 

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
The Bucks didn't confirm on Friday if Giannis Antetokounmpo will play. (Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Celtics running low on available players

The updates weren't as encouraging for the Celtics, who ruled out eight players in COVID-19 protocols and listed four more as questionable for Saturday's road game. Enes Kanter Freedom, Grant Williams, C.J. Miles, Justin Jackson, Aaron Nesmith, Josh Richardson, Bruno Fernando and Sam Hauser are all ruled out against the Bucks. 

Al Horford, Jabari Parker, Brodric Thomas and Juancho Hernangomez are all listed as questionable in protocols. Marcus Smart, meanwhile, is listed as questionable with a hip contusion, and Romeo Langford’s listed as questionable with left Achilles tendinopathy.

The injury report leaves the Celtics with six players confirmed for the game — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams, Joe Johnson, Payton Pritchard and Dennis Schroder. The Athletic's Shams Charania reports that they're planning to sign Al-Farouq Aminu and G League center Norvel Pelle to 10-day hardship contracts. The deals would ensure that Boston meets the league minimum of eight available players to field a team. 

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