Giannis Antikonmo will not play for Greece at the FIBA Basketball World Cup this summer.
The Milwaukee Bucks star announced Friday on Instagram that he will not play for his country in the tournament while recovering from knee surgery. He was seen as questionable to play in the World Cup due to the surgery.
“After months of work and multiple meetings with the medical staff, it is clear that I am not ready to compete at the level I need to participate in the World Cup,” wrote Antetokounmo. “It wasn’t an option but my only option to ensure I could get back to the level of basketball I’ve worked so hard to achieve so far in my career. I’m very disappointed in this result but it was a decision that was made with the medical staff.”
Antetokounmpo underwent surgery to clean the cartilage in his left knee in June. He returned to Greece two days later, but his World Cup status has been in doubt ever since.
While Antetokounmpo is not ready to play for Greece, he is still expected to be fully cleared to play for the Bucks when the NBA season ends 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 the opening round against the Miami Heat. The Heat knocked out the Bucks in the first round and reached the NBA Finals.
The 28-year-old is set to enter the third year of his $228 million, five-year deal with Milwaukee this fall.
Antetokounmpo is the last to back out of the World Cup. Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic announced last month that he would not compete with Serbia in the tournament after winning the NBA title.
The World Cup is scheduled to begin on August 25 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Seven teams will win bids to host the 2024 Paris Olympics through the tournament.
Although Antetokounmpo is not playing this summer, he is already looking forward to returning to international play and bringing the Greek team to France.
“I will keep pushing myself to be ready the next time my name is called,” Antetokounmpo wrote. “My personal and ultimate team goal is to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games and it will be an honor to represent my national team next year.”