With media obligations fulfilled, the Milwaukee Bucks kicked off practice on Tuesday with a lengthy three-hour session. The biggest news from day one of training camp? Jabari Parker participated in full.
He wasn’t limited. He didn’t stop halfway through. There were no reports of him experiencing soreness after the fact. Parker practiced like any other player and all parties involved seemed encouraged with his comeback from last December’s ACL tear. The Bucks have a plan in place for handling him in the first week of training camp according to the Journal-Sentinel article linked above. But if that plan includes Parker practicing for three hours as if he were anyone else, they must not be too concerned about his knee.
John Hammond said previously that Parker would be ready for training camp, but that the team was going to be cautious with him as he returned from injury. Milwaukee hired Suki Hobson, who specializes in rehabilitation from ACL injuries this off-season as Senior Strength and Rehabilitation Specialist, and surely she’s helping monitor Parker and advise the team on his progress. It was Hobson who suggested Parker to head off to Peru this past summer and focus on both his mental and physical health by taking hikes through the mountains. Anytime you have someone on staff sending a player into the mountains to train like he’s Rocky getting ready to fight Drago, I’m on board. Whatever Hobson says is law as far as I’m concerned.
Given that he’s already practicing in full and we’re still a month out from the regular season tipping off, it’s not unreasonable to assume Parker will be in MIlwaukee’s starting lineup when the team hosts New York on October 28. If a mountain can’t stop him, I think the terrain in Madison will be no challenge.
The Bucks first pre-season game is next Tuesday, October 6 at Chicago. Last season Jason Kidd used the pre-season as an opportunity to experiment with a variety of lineups, so I would advise against looking at any lineups Kidd uses, especially this early on in the pre-season as worthwhile predictors of what he’ll do in late October.