As if things couldn’t get any worse.
The Bucks have lost 11 of their last 13, getting consistently knocked around, not looking like the promising young squad they were showing flashes of earlier in the year. And as the dramatic, knockout left hook, Jabari Parker will be spending the next 12 months undergoing the same, excruciatingly lengthy rehab process for his second ACL tear on the same left knee.
At least in Parker’s mind, after he crumpled into a scary heap Wednesday against Miami, this was not the expected diagnosis. Per Gary D’Amato’s twitter, sports columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Parker was under the impression he had only hyperextended the knee.
John Henson, on what Jabari Parker told him: “I hyperextended it. It’s cool. I’m good.”
— Gary D’Amato (@garydamatogolf) February 9, 2017
Parker was part of a dazzling two man show between him and Antetokounmpo, and now that duo has been stripped to a one man show; flashbacks to 2014 are only logical. Jabari was putting up career numbers at 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds and his production both statistically and off the ball will be sorely missed.
Ironically, four days before his season ended, Parker reached out to Minnesota Timberwolves stud guard Zach Lavine, who also suffered a torn ACL.
@ZachLaVine. Just wanted to reach out and say keep your head high bro. You going to be jumping even higher soon, trust me, I know lol.
— Jabari Parker (@JabariParker) February 5, 2017
Now the tables have turned, and well wishers are pouring in support for the admired Bucks forward. Fans of the Bucks and the NBA alike are left wondering where the Bucks are headed with this devastating news.
Fortuitously, used in a loose sense, the injury occurred the same night of the long awaited return of Khris Middleton. Middleton was the Bucks leader in scoring last season at 18.2 points and shot effectively from beyond the arc at the 39.6 percent mark. Middleton’s return was supposed to be the addition of a star, not the replacement of one, but, regardless, his return could not have come at a better time.
As if the Bucks hadn’t leaned on Antetokounmpo enough, however, his role is about to become even bigger. He already leads the Bucks in all major stats, but if the Bucks want to make the elusive playoff push, he’ll have to take “freak” to another dimension of the word.
Perhaps the most intriguing result of this setback is the potential playing time Thon Maker could see. The Bucks are reportedly extremely high on the Sudanese prospect, and a feature published by Bleacher Report yesterday will convince you. As reported by the feature, veteran guard Jason Terry had kind words for the 19-year-old big man: “When I look at Mr. Maker, the first impression you get is: This kid resembles Kevin Garnett a little bit, just in his stature and build … And then you watch him play? And you’re like, ‘Whoa.'” Maker will eventually get his shot, but it seems it may come at an earlier date than expected.
Parker’s injury is devastating; plain and simple. But let’s see what these young Bucks can do with their still abundant reserves of young talent. If anything, this year has been about expecting the unexpected.