Jabari Parker to play Wednesday in first game since torn ACL

ByBrian Windhorst ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

NEW YORK -- Just under 10 months since surgery to repair a torn ACL, Jabari Parker will make his return Wednesday, when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Philadelphia 76ers.

For the first time since the injury, Parker was activated for Monday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets, but he did not play.

Parker has been targeting Wednesday's game for several weeks, as he made it a priority to make his return in a home game. The final hurdle was cleared Monday, when he was given the OK to play after he consulted with Dr. David Altchek, who performed the procedure on Parker's left knee in January.

"It feels pretty good, but there is a long way to go," Parker said. "It is about maintaining, but I'm blessed."

Bucks coach Jason Kidd said Parker will be on a minutes restriction of 15 to 20 minutes for the time being. He also said Parker would be held out of back-to-backs in the short term.

Parker has been practicing with the Bucks' first unit for several weeks, which suggests he'll start when he returns. He didn't play in preseason games but has been practicing with the Bucks since training camp.

"The process has started, and he has done everything that we feel a basketball player can do at a high level," Kidd said. "He's excited. He's 20 years old, was hurt doing something that he loved and wants to get out and help his team win."

Parker, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, injured his knee while driving to the basket Dec. 15 in a game in Phoenix. He averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25 games as a rookie before suffering the injury.

Over the summer, Parker added some weight and now might be bigger than his listed 6-foot-8, 250 pounds. Although he has long been seen as a versatile player who can play multiple positions, it seems the Bucks are grooming him to be their starting power forward, with the 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo at small forward.

"I worked on being an overall player, to fill any void for my team, no matter what position they want me to go," Parker said. "[I've] really been studying the game, what to get better at. I'm more comfortable now, not as nervous as I was last year at this time."

The Bucks also announced point guard Tyler Ennis has been cleared to play. He has been out throughout the preseason and early regular season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in May.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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