Ten months after a devastating knee injury cut short his rookie season, Jabari Parker was all smiles at the Bucks' practice facility on Monday.
Though his timetable for returning to game action remains rather unclear, Parker was in his usual good spirits at Bucks' media day festivities on Monday, emphasizing his time away from the game as an opportunity to reshape his body ahead of his second season. Parker was photographed scrimmaging with teammates last week and will be doing something tomorrow when the Bucks tip off their 2015 training camp in Madison, though it appears he'll be on some type of minutes limit once he does return to action. Here are his full comments from Monday:
How are you feeling?
"I'm feeling good. They probably passed me on my physical as being enthusiastic and hyper, so emotionally, I'm balanced."
Will you be a full go tomorrow at practice?
"I go within the hours, and whatever I'm able to complete, then you'll be able to *analyze that, but I can't predict anything."
How difficult has this process been? How satisfying is it to be at this point?
"It's been real good, *I'm able to do a lot of things to distract from things I haven't been able to do. It's been fairly new, but I think I scratched the surface within my training and I can build (on that) now. It's real exciting and I'm so glad I had a good support system with the training staff and my coaches."
The organization has talked about being cautious with you. Does that impact your mentality as a player?
"It might enhance it because I know I only have a little bit of time. I'm just going to give everything I have for the amount of time and opportunity that I get."
On Greg Monroe and the new lineup:
"I'm very excited, very glad that I get a chance to work with a team, be around a team. Again, there's no better feeling than having a group of guys and building relationships from there."
On his upper body looking bigger, workouts he focused on this summer:
"Be able to hold my ground. I kind of struggled last year guarding a lot of fours. It's not a lot of stretch fours out there in the league, they're more stable down there. The plan was to be able to hold my ground on defense. It's something I wanted to do, too. I wanted to rebuild my body from scratch and not have any flaws."
Playing in the four spot?
"I see it going forward. I always played the four all my life, in high school and college. College played the five, too. It's a position to me, that's what I do. It's a position where I can be anywhere on the floor. I gain a lot of confidence being able to study it and also having a few games under it."
On his summer trip to Peru:
"Well, I didn't get a chance to travel to London [in January to play the Knicks]. The owners and my coaching staff gave me an opportunity to travel somewhat overseas and get out of the states for a few. Peru was a trip that my trainer Suki [Hobson] came up with. She thought it would be cool for my legs to get underneath me and also my cardio. You hike those mountains, they're real steep. I made it in one piece, it was real fun. It was also a trip that I take for character. We take a lot for granted out there and you don't find out how fortunate you are even though you come from the bottom of the financial pool."
On the hours he had to put in and what it will mean when he's back on the court:
"It would mean a lot, but it's something I have to build on and work towards because I'm not complete. It's been able to prep me all the way to this point, but it's also to help me go throughout the season. Once I reach that, I'll be really satisfied."
What's been the biggest challenge?
"There have been a few. I really don't look at it as a big deal. I kind of tricked myself and my mindset because when people look at it pessimistically, they think with the wrong mentality. You're probably going to be a different person and it's pretty traumatizing. For myself, I really didn't treat it that way. I wanted to treat it as positive as possible saying that I was going to be able to start back over and build myself up. There was no better way that I could do that other than building myself up and that was real fun."