The Milwaukee Bucks are expected to contend for one of the Eastern Conference’s playoffs spots but have gotten off to a 1-3 start.
The Bucks will get a spark on Wednesday when Jabari Parker, who was activated tonight, will return to the court for the first time since tearing his ACL in December, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Parker was having a solid rookie campaign before injuring his left knee while driving to the basket against Phoenix on December 15. The former No. 2 overall selection averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25 appearances last year.
ESPN reports that Parker has targeted Wednesday’s game at the 76ers for several weeks as he wanted to make his debut at home. Parker, who added weight to his 6-foot-8 frame over the summer, has been practicing with the team since training camp opened. However, he wasn’t formally cleared until he consulted with Dr. David Altchek — who performed the procedure.
“It feels pretty good but there is a long way to go,” Parker said. “It is about maintaining but I’m blessed.”
Bucks head coach Jason Kidd told reporters that Parker has practiced with the first unit for the past week. Kidd added that Parker will be limited to 15-20 minutes a game, and likely not play in back-to-back games.
Reserve point guard Tyler Ennis (torn labrum in shoulder) is also expected to be available for the first time against Philadelphia. Ennis is not expected to see a lot of action this year, as he is slotted as the team’s sixth guard behind Michael Carter-Williams, Middleton, O.J. Mayo, Greivis Vasquez, and Bayless, though Mayo (hamstring) has yet to appear in a game.
Ennis, the No. 18 overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in 2014, appeared in 25 games last season for the Bucks after coming over from the Phoenix Suns in a trade. The 6-foot-3, 21-year-old averaged 4.0 points and 2.4 assists in 14.1 minutes of action for Milwaukee. In 33 games overall, Ennis averaged 3.7 points and 2.2 dimes a season ago.
Milwaukee earned its first win of the season Monday night with its a 103-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets as Jerryd Bayless led four players in double figures. Bayless, making his first start of the season, dumped in 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc. Greg Monroe added 23 points and 13 rebounds while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 21 points and Khris Middleton chipped in with 17.
The game against Brooklyn marked the third different starting lineup that Milwaukee has used this season. Monroe, Middleton, and Carter-Williams have started all four games this season. Antetokounmpo, who missed the season opener against New York due to a suspension, has started three games, while Johnny O’Bryant has made two starts and Chris Copeland has gotten one start.
Antetokounmpo leads the way for the Bucks this season, averaging 22.7 points and 8.7 rebounds. Monroe, who has posted two double-doubles this season, is second on the team with 20.3 points, and has grabbed a team-high 9.5 boards. Middleton (13.5 ppg), Carter-Williams (12.5), and Bayless (11.5) are also are averaging double-figures.
Philadelphia enters Wednesday game with a 0-3 record, though they are coming off their best game of the season, a 107-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night. Rookie Jahlil Okafor posted his second 20-point game of the season as he led the way with 24 points on 11-of-21 shooting. Nerlens Noel contributed 14 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. Nik Stauskaus added 15 points and rookie T.J. McConnell had a career night, recording six points to go along with seven rebounds as well as 12 assists.
[Photo by Alex Goodlett / Getty Images]