Last season, Jabari Parker was in the midst of an outstanding year with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 33.9 minutes per contest, all of which were career highs.
Then, all of his progress and hard work came to a screeching halt.
He tore his left ACL for the second time in his young career in a game against the Miami Heat and has been out since.
At just 22 years old and with two serious knee injuries on the same leg, the concerns about the talented forward moving forward are valid.
However, it seems as though he and the organization are not going to rush things in the hopes of him returning at full strength.
“I want to wait as long as I can just so I know where I am and I don't have to rush nothing,” he told The Crossover’s Rob Mahoney in an exclusive interview. Mahoney reported that in private, Parker ends each one of of his workouts with a power dunk off a single step, which suggests that he may be closer than expected.
Despite the setback, he maintains a positive outlook.
“This type of rehab, this type of journey that I'm living through right now is necessary for my development,” Parker added. “It's trying to teach me that it can all be taken in an instant.”
He admitted that his first ACL tear didn’t go well from a mental perspective. After all, he was just 19 years old and it was just a few months after his one-and-done season at Duke University. “I was by myself a lot… I've been in a very dark place,” he noted.
In addition to his work with physical therapists, in the weight room and light work on the court, Parker revealed a major change that he made off the court that has undoubtedly helped him through his recovery so far.
“Parker has effectively moved back in with his mom, Lola, over the past few months of his rehab,” Mahoney wrote. “Every morning he wakes up in a re-creation of his childhood bedroom—transported, poster for poster and Beanie Baby for Beanie Baby, from the south side of Chicago to the Milwaukee suburbs. Essential oils waft throughout the house, along with the smell of breakfast. The eggs are on the griddle before Jabari can shout down to the kitchen, the pro athlete playing the part of a teenager on summer vacation.”
How nice does that sound?
Mahoney continued, “Something about being back at home turns us all into our former selves. By the time Jabari makes his way downstairs, breakfast sandwiches are made and wrapped in foil. Lola will pack him a plastic bag full of grapes for the road, the same kind that a high school freshman might fish out of their sack lunch.”
Therefore, the comfort of having his mother around to support him has had a positive impact on his recovery from a mental standpoint. Once he returns to the court, we will see if it also has an impact there as well if he's planning on having his mom around even after he's fully healthy. By the sounds of it, that may be a smart decision for the youngster.