The Milwaukee Bucks announced on Friday that forward Jabari Parker will make his season debut on Friday.
Parker tore the ACL in his left knee on Feb. 8, 2017 and will play at home against the New York Knicks for the first time since suffering the injury.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 30, 2018
“He progressed really quickly in the early phases of his rehab, which is really nice,” Bucks director of sports performance Troy Flanagan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “In the first ACL rehab, he had a fair bit of patellar tendinitis which slowed the whole thing down a little bit even though he did come back reasonably early. We saw a great progression early in this rehab that allowed us to really capitalize on his fitness.”
Parker’s injury was the second time he tore the ACL in the same knee. He suffered the first ACL tear in December of his rookie season in 2014 and needed almost 11 months before returning to the court.
Milwaukee is 26-22, good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. It’s been a bit of disappointing start to the season for the Bucks, who had hoped the ascension of 23-year-old star Giannis Antetokounmpo would lead the team to be more competitive. The team fired head coach Jason Kidd last week and replaced him with interim coach Joe Prunty.
The Bucks have a young core of Antetokounmpo, Parker, Khris Middleton and last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year Malcom Brogdon, who range in age from 22-to-27 years old and hold aspirations of competing for the Eastern Conference in the near future.
Parker, the youngest of the four, has career averages of 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds through three injury-plagued seasons. He was rumored to have had a strained relationship with Kidd and failed to sign a contract extension with the Bucks before a deadline last fall. He will be a restricted free agent this offseason after his rookie deal expires.
The Bucks look ready to turn the page and find out what they have with Parker and without Kidd during the second half of the NBA season.