For the second time in two years, Milwaukee Bucks’ Jabari Parker suffered a devastating knee injury. This past February, when the Bucks finally saw their ideal lineup all on the court at the same time, disaster struck. In a game against the Miami Heat Parker drove to the hoop, with little contact, and crumpled to the floor with a torn ACL. The road back is not an easy one, but keeping hopes high is the necessary mentality. In speaking to media members for the first time since March, Parker reiterated his mindset to ESPN’s Eric Nehm.
Parker is using Kendrick Lamar’s recently released song “DNA” as the sound of his recover. “That’s the one I’m going to listen to all summer in my rehab,” Parker said. “It just reminds me of who I am. I’m just proud to be the person I am because I’m not fake. I’m authentic. And that’s what he’s trying to tell everybody in that song.” In addition to power, poison and pain in his DNA (lyrics from the song), Parker can add “hopeful”. Coming back from two significant knee surgeries in such a short amount of time is not easy. But he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When asked about a possible date of return, Parker feels the All-Star break is a reasonable timeline. “That would be a year and that gives me the right amount of time to turn the table,” Parker said. “To tell you the truth, I don’t want to come back when it’s still lingering. I’m just barely making it. The only way I’m trying to come back is if it is better than it was.” Bucks’ general manager John Hammond recently mentioned that the All-Star break is a reasonable expectation for Parker’s return.
The Bucks have, when healthy, a very athletic and lanky core. Giannis Antetokounmpo is already asserting himself as one of the best players in the league. Kris Middleton is perhaps the most underrated wing player in the league, and now also healthy. Jabari Parker is the mystery player. He has all of the talent in the world, and clearly the perseverance and patience well beyond his years. But one has to wonder what two knee surgeries will do to his quickness and footwork. Coming into the year, Parker appeared ready to take the leap to stardom. But for right now, he is just looking to take the leap back to the hardwood.