Good news, Milwaukee Bucks fans: Jabari Parker is practicing with the team.
Slightly bad news, though: His timetable for a return from his second ACL injury isn’t being moved up. You’re still on track to see him sometime in February.
As head coach Jason Kidd told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears:
What is the latest with Jabari Parker? (Parker suffered a season-ending left knee injury for the second time in three years on Feb. 8 and was expected to miss a year following surgery.)
He’s doing great. He’s been practicing. He’s been at shootaround. The timetable is February for him to come back. You’re talking about someone who can score the ball at a very high level. He gives you a big athletic ability and another big on the floor.
The Bucks don’t have any real incentive to rush Parker back from his latest ACL injury. Doing so would be reckless, for starters, when this isn’t his first brush with a serious setback. Plus, it would be different if they were fading from the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture and desperate for from-scratch offense. But they’re not.
Acquiring Eric Bledsoe has helped them on defense more than anything, but they still rank 11th in points scored per 100 possessions. That verges on elite. If Parker is ready and able to drain spot-up threes off the catch in massive volume, then sure, he stands to take them to a different level, as perhaps the only player on the team who can be counted on to create his own offense while registering as a lethal catch-and-shoot sniper. But, again, the offense is finding ways to tread water near the top 10.
Besides, getting Parker back in February gives the Bucks plenty of time to evaluate his health and performance ahead of restricted free agency this summer. Even more time would be ideal, but they’re not going to get consecutive healthy seasons from Parker before needing to re-invest in him no matter what. A couple weeks here and there won’t make a huge difference.