Jabari Parker staying optimistic

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Despite being lost for the rest of his rookie season with a torn left ACL, Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parkeris trying to stay positive by treating it as an opportunity to learn from the sideline.

"One of the positive things is I get a brand-new knee," Parker told reporters Tuesday before the Bucks lost to theCharlotte Hornets108-101. "You've got to look at longevity. Hopefully this will just be a short thing and I'll be able to return for the career I want to have."

Parker, 19, suffered a complete tear in the third quarter of the Bucks' Dec. 15 win in Phoenix. Parker's knee buckled on a drive to the basket, after which he collided with the Suns'P.J. Tucker.

Tuesday marked Parker's first comments since the injury. He said doctors are waiting until swelling subsides in his knee before proceeding with surgery.

"I didn't know it was this serious," Parker said. "Even though it happened, I wasn't in agony. I just felt the twist and I thought it was hyperextended.

"It was just a clean [tear]."

He also said he did not know how long his recovery process would take.

"It wasn't frustration at all; it was more like questioning," he said. "Questioning myself and seeing how I'm going to come back from this.

"I want to stay optimistic. I want to challenge myself a little bit more now that I've got to take it day by day."

Since being selected No. 2 overall in June by the Bucks, Parker had emerged as a top rookie of the year contender in Milwaukee's surprising start, averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 29.5 minutes in 25 games.

Parker stressed that he didn't want anyone to feel sorry for him, because he sees the injury as an opportunity to "be on the sideline, be a cheerleader."

"This is not a time off for me. It is more a time for me to learn more," he said. "I will get a chance to look outside of the mistakes I used to make and hopefully get better. This is definitely a big opportunity for me."

He started his career with double-doubles in two of his first three games and was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for October/November.

"I think I'd assess myself as a C," he said of his season thus far. "I'm more hard on myself. The things I can do to prepare myself were in my control.

"I don't think I did too well but that's something in the future I can make up for."

Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein was used in this report.