Jabari Parker makes long-awaited season debut after lengthy rehab
Following a nearly year long rehab process with the Milwaukee Bucks’ training staff, combo forward Jabari Parker made his long-awaited return to the basketball court on Friday night. Bucks fans didn’t have to wait long for the natural born scorer to make his mark.
Parker racked up seven quick points off the bench in the first quarter and finished the game with 12 points in total. He was Milwaukee’s second leading scorer, and it only took a whopping 14 minutes to get it done.
The fourth-year forward came out guns blazing, but it was Giannis Antetokounmpo who took over the rest of the contest. The Greek Freak scored a game-high 29 points and attacked the rim for a driving layup with 1.9 seconds remaining to give the Bucks the lead 92-90.
Milwaukee held onto to the lead with just seconds to go and the Bucks won 92-90 over the New York Knicks in Parker’s return to action. Parker was on a minutes restriction that held him to no more than 15 minutes of playing time, but it will be interesting to see how he fits with the team when he’s back playing his usual rotational minutes.
The Bucks won their fifth game in six tries and Antetokounmpo looked healthy despite spraining his ankle late in a loss against the Timberwolves on Thursday night. Whatever pain he might’ve been he didn’t show as he strutted his stuff down the court following his clutch game-winning layup.
Jabari Parker hadn’t played in an NBA game since he went down with a torn left ACL on February 8, 2017, but he didn’t miss a step during his brief appearance. While it was rumored he was on the trading block before he made his season debut, following a untimely quadriceps injury to the reigning Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee will likely look to hold on to the quasi-big-man in an attempt to keep their head above water during the most important part of the regular season.
Jabari Parker provided much-needed scoring off the for a team that can at times struggle to put the ball in the basket. The former number two overall pick of the 2014 draft averaged a career-high 20.1 points per game last season before tearing his ACL agains the Miami Heat, and they’ll need him to pick up where he left off last season if they hope to make a meaningful run in this year’s playoffs.
Many players don’t return from ACL injuries the same athlete they were before, but in a surprise turn of events, Parker beat all odds and came back from first ACL tear a more explosive finisher than we’d ever witnessed him be during his abbreviated rookie campaign. Although the odds may not be in his favor, if he beat them once, I have confidence the ultra-talented forward can do it again.