The Milwaukee Bucks were deflated Wednesday night when star forward Jabari Parker went down with an apparent injury. Head coach Jason Kidd hoped for the best, but unfortunately, the Bucks announced Thursday that the young forward suffered a torn ACL and faces a 12-month recovery.
They went back to work Thursday knowing that they’re going to need every player on the roster to come together and fill the void left by their No. 2 leading scorer’s heartbreaking injury.
“Practice was spirited today, understanding what we lost as a person as a player,” Jason said of his team’s first practice without Parker. “It’s the next-guy-up mentality. It has to be a team effort to get out of this funk.”
The Bucks fell 106-88 to the Miami Heat after Parker went down. The tough defeat came just a few days after Jason’s group secured a big road win over the Phoenix Suns—and it came the very same night that another one of Milwaukee’s young stars, Khris Middleton, returned to the lineup after suffering a torn hamstring in September.
Middleton tallied five points, two rebounds, two assists and a block in 15 minutes of work.
“I thought Khris was great,” Jason said. “He did everything we expected him to do. We came away with a positive from him. Now we have to build on that.”
Middleton emerged as Milwaukee’s most lethal scorer last season, but a freak injury sustained right before the start of the season has kept him sidelined until now. Once healthy, he has the potential to play a major role in filling the void.
Additionally, Jason sees another positive dynamic to the situation. The Bucks already showed that they can win without one of their superstars when Middleton was out, so they should be able to handle Parker’s departure just as well.
“Just going through the process of playing without Khris, we understand how to play without someone,” Coach Kidd said. “Now we’ve got to learn how to play without Jabari. We don’t have training camp or time to waste. We’ve got Friday and Saturday with games. We’ve just got to be pros. We’re a young team and it’s going to take a team effort for us to win ball games.”