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Herro fractured hand, Antetokounmpo injured back could swing series, playoffs

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks - Game One

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 16: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is injured during Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs against the Miami Heat at Fiserv Forum on April 16, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Playoff Jimmy Butler showed up in Milwaukee and the Heat are up 1-0 in their series against the Bucks.

That’s not the biggest takeaway from Game 1 — the injuries are.

Bucks MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo went down in the first quarter with a back injury after a nasty fall.

Antetokounmpo stayed in the game for more than two more minutes, but when he was subbed out he went back to the Bucks’ locker room. There he got some treatment and tried to come back in the second quarter, but played just 1:23 before being taken out and officially being declared done for the game with a lower back contusion.

“There was an X-ray that was clear here,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told the Associated Press. “We’ll monitor him and see how he does, see how he wakes up, how he feels the rest of tonight and tomorrow... We have to wait and see what the doctors say, most importantly what Giannis says.”

The Bucks outscored their opponents by 7.4 points per 100 possessions when Antetokounmpo was on the court this season, but were outscored (-0.4) when he sat.

While the Bucks have had to play some without Antetokounmpo, they will struggle to win a series against the Heat without him. Even if they advance, if this is an injury that lingers or slows the Greek Freak, it could spell trouble for the Bucks in future rounds.

While Antetokounmpo might return by the next game, Miami’s Tyler Herro is done for this series and likely until around the Finals, if the Heat could advance that far. Herro fractured the middle and ring fingers on his right hand — his shooting hand — when diving for a ball just before halftime.

Among Miami’s challenges this season was a serious lack of playmaking beyond Jimmy Butler and Herro. With Herro out, more responsibility falls on Butler, plus the Heat need someone such as Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent or Victor Oladipo to step up and take on a larger shot creation role. (It’s worth noting that even with Herro missing a chunk of this game, Erik Spoelstra did not put in Oladipo.)

Game 2 of this series is Wednesday night in Milwaukee.