Sooner than many expected and in front of the home crowd, Jabari Parker will make his 2015-16 season debut on Wednesday night.
The Bucks announced Monday that the second-year forward and fan favorite has been medically cleared to return to game action and would likely play against the Philadelphia 76ers at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, tore the ACL in his left knee last December. He underwent surgery on Jan. 5 and has spent nearly 10 months rehabbing and strengthening the knee.
According to the team, second-year guard Tyler Ennis, who also has yet to play while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, has been cleared to play as well.
“We’re very excited to have both Jabari and Tyler medically cleared to play for us,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “Both players have put in a tremendous amount of hard work during the rehabilitation process. It’s a real credit to their work ethic and the talents of our world-class medical team and terrific coaching staff to have them ready to go. I know our fans are thrilled to have them back and will welcome them both on Wednesday night.”
Before Parker’s injury, which occurred as he was driving to the basket in a game against the Phoenix Suns last season, the rookie was averaging 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 29.5 minutes per game as Milwaukee’s starting power forward. He was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November and became the first teenager in more than 30 years to record multiple double-doubles in his first three career games.
During the offseason, Parker was featured in a Gatorade television commercial that highlighted his recovery.
The 20-year-old, who was First-Team All-America and the ACC Freshman of the Year during his one season at Duke, did not play in the preseason. For the first three games of the regular season, he’s been seen sitting in between the coaches on the Bucks’ bench.
Ennis, 21, was acquired by the Bucks in a Feb. 19 trade with the Suns that also brought Miles Plumlee and Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee. He averaged 3.7 points, 2.2 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 33 games with the Bucks. In his first career start, on March 14, Ennis became the third player under 21 years old in franchise history to record at least 10 assists, when he dished out 11 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
After one season at Syracuse, when he was named to the All-ACC Second Team, ACC All-Freshman and ACC All-Defensive Teams, Ennis was drafted 18th overall by the Suns.
He underwent labral repair surgery on his right shoulder on May 19.
“Having Jabari and Tyler back is great news for our team,” Kidd said. “We know how many long hours they’ve worked to get themselves healthy with our first rate performance team led by Troy (Flanagan) and Suki (Hobson). I know how much our team has been looking forward to their comeback, and being able to return to play in front of our great fans in Milwaukee has been their goal.”