We're not going to rush him back. This is a bigger picture. —Coach Jason Kidd said.
MEQUON, Wis. — If Jabari Parker makes it on the floor next week for the start of Milwaukee Bucks training camp, whatever the forward does can be seen as progress.
The second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft is expected on the court when Bucks camp opens on Sept. 29 in Madison.
As always, the team is proceeding cautiously with the franchise cornerstone player returning from a left knee injury. It's unclear what Parker can do or how much contact he might face.
"We're not going to rush him back. This is a bigger picture," coach Jason Kidd said at a charity golf function on Tuesday in suburban Milwaukee.
By all accounts, Parker appears to be on schedule. Teammates have raved about his dedication. Kidd said Parker's body had changed, and that he has done everything expected of him.
The team has always shied away from questions about if or when Parker would be ready for the regular season. With a deep, young roster, the Bucks might not need to rush.
"If we think he can play 30 minutes, we'll probably play him 15," general manager John Hammond said. "Wherever he might be, we're always going to be cautious with him."
Parker was playing well before tearing his left ACL in December, ending his rookie season after 25 games. He was averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.
A model citizen off the court, Parker remains an important part of a team that made a surprise run to the playoffs last year.
External expectations have risen. The team is also planning to build a new downtown arena.
Parker, along with athletic, 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo, are linchpins in the frontcourt, along with Michael Carter-Williams and Khris Middleton in the backcourt. The Bucks also signed center Greg Monroe, who has a career average of 14.3 points, as a free agent in the offseason.
They'll get a chance to work out together in camp for the first time next week at the practice facility of the University of Wisconsin's basketball team.
"For Jabari, he's had a chance to be in the weight room and he's work extremely hard there," Kidd said. "Now it's just a matter of time under his belt to get back to playing basketball."