On Monday, the Milwaukee Bucks assigned Jabari Parker to the G-League.
It was a huge step in Parker’s rehabilitation from the torn ACL that he suffered on February 8. Since that was the second time in his short career that he tore his left ACL, there were major concerns regarding his recovery time, but it appears as though he’s right on schedule.
Parker had a breakout year for the Bucks last season, averaging career-highs in points (20.1), rebounds (6.2), assists (2.8) and minutes (33.9) per game.
When he returns, he will join a very talented core that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe, along with a slew of specialty role players.
Therefore, when the Bucks announced his addition to the Wisconsin Herd, the natural question became not if he will be returning this season, but when?
On Tuesday, following his second-straight practice with the G-League affiliate, Parker told reporters that he is hoping to make his return sometime in February, per the Associated Press.
"I'm at the end of the tunnel," Parker said. "I'm seeing the light, and it's really nice.” Despite the long road to recovery, Parker can’t wait to get back on the NBA floor.
"Basketball is my sanctuary," he explained. "I love that I'm getting the chance to play on the court again. That's one blessing that I won't take for granted.” He added, “I’m accepting of what I’ve been through” and mentioned that he’s “holding up really good.”.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd noticed how well the young forward was looking, since the Herd were practicing in Milwaukee.
"It gives him the opportunity to get up and down the court," Kidd noted. "It also gives him the opportunity to go against different guys. Yesterday and today were positive.”
Parker apparently had the ability to go up and down the floor in a full-court practice session on Tuesday. It was clear that he was encouraged after the workout:
He also took some jumpers at the BMO Harris Bradley Center before Milwaukee’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers later in the day.
Although it was the 22 year old’s second serious injury to the same knee, he made it clear that he has no plans of changing his aggressive style of play.
"If you change your game, you change your mentality," he said. "If you live in fear, you live with stress and doubt.”
When he returns, the Bucks will certainly have the talent (on paper) to make a move up the Eastern Conference standings. If all goes well, they could even challenge the Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, all of whom will presumably be at the top of the conference throughout the year.