Jabari Parker a full participant as Bucks open training camp
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — At the end of his first official practice after a left knee injury, Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker rested.
He sat on the floor of a practice gym with some black padding covering his leg, a contraption presumably being used to aid the forward in his cautious comeback.
By all accounts, Parker’s first day back, for the first day of Bucks training camp, was a success. The team and its franchise player remain as restrained as ever.
“Day by day progression, regardless of how it goes,” Parker said Tuesday when asked if or how the team might manage his practice schedule. “We’re going to see how it goes and then from there, judge it.”
Parker went the entire practice, coach Jason Kidd said. Trainers will see how Parker feels on Tuesday night and then talk to him again before practice on Wednesday.
“We have a plan. We’ll stick to that unless there’s a setback,” Kidd said without offering details.
Still, just the sight of Parker back in a practice uniform is encouraging for an up-and-coming club that made a surprise run to the playoffs even without the second overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Parker was averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds when he tore his left ACL on Dec. 15.
Along with Parker, the Bucks’ young core returned intact, including forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, point guard Michael Carter-Williams and shooting guard Khris Middleton. The team also added another rising talent by signing big man Greg Monroe as a free agent from Detroit in the offseason.
That gives the Bucks two players with back-to-the-basket potential on offense. The 6-foot-8 Parker has added upper body muscle in preparation for matchups against more power forwards.
While with the Pistons, the 6-foot-11 Monroe faced Parker a couple times early last season.
“I definitely see he’s gotten stronger, for sure,” Monroe said. “I know what he’s capable of in games, and he looks good right now.”
There will be a trial-and-error period in camp as the Bucks work in Monroe and Parker. Kidd likened the 2015-16 campaign to a second rookie season for Parker.
But many of the players have had head starts the last few weeks in taking part in pickup games together or other workouts. Parker has been a regular at the Bucks’ training facility during his rehabilitation.
Kidd said the last couple weeks were “really a plus” for Parker. The encouraging signs have apparently carried over to the first day of camp at the University of Wisconsin.
“You can see the ceiling is very high. He can score the ball. He understands how to play. He’s a winner,” Kidd said.
NOTES: Badgers coach Bo Ryan greeted Kidd, general manager John Hammond and other Bucks officials. Also in attendance was Rod Thorn, a veteran NBA executive who was hired this week as a consultant. The Bucks plan to practice in Madison until Friday. ... G O.J. Mayo missed the first day of practice to deal with a family matter.
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