Injuries may play role in 76ers-Bucks matchup
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MILWAUKEE -- Jabari Parker worked out prior to the Milwaukee Bucks' game Sunday in Chicago and could return from his second major knee surgery as early as this week.
That's good news for the Bucks, who are 3-0 since firing head coach Jason Kidd a week ago and look to remain perfect under interim coach Joe Prunty Monday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Bradley Center.
"The plan is at some point in February," Prunty said. "The big thing with Jabari is he's worked very, very hard and as much as possible, we want to try to stick to the game plan for him."
Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, first tore the ACL in his left knee in 25 games into his rookie season. He missed most of that campaign and after returning early last season, tore the same ACL again on Feb. 8.
Those injuries have defined Parker's career. He's played in just 152 of 194 games and even when he returns, he'll need some time before returning to the form that allowed him to average 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds before his latest injury.
"Even when he comes back, he'll have missed a significant amount of time," Prunty said. "I think the expectation will be, 'Oh, Jabari's back (and he'll pick up where he left off).' That's not fair."
Along with Parker, Milwaukee might still be without point guard Malcolm Brogdon, who sat out Sunday afternoon at Chicago, missing a second consecutive game because of soreness in his right calf and is listed as questionable on the team's injury report.
"We're just keeping an eye on it, monitoring it," Prunty said. "Obviously, we were evaluating it and there's a plan in place but for today he's just not going to be able to go."
Brogdon also sat out the Bucks' last meeting with the 76ers, a 116-94 loss at Philadelphia earlier this month. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed that game, too, a major reason Milwaukee faded in the fourth quarter despite a triple-double from Khris Middleton.
Center Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers in that contest and will be available Monday night, despite playing 36 minutes Sunday evening in a 122-112 loss at Oklahoma City.
Embiid has never played on consecutive nights in his brief, two-year career as the 76ers try to manage his workload after he missed his first two NBA seasons with a broken bone in his foot that required two surgeries.
"I just got told I was available," Embiid said Sunday before facing the Thunder. "I think it's depending on how I feel after the game. But I expect to feel great, because my body has been feeling really good.
"Hopefully, I will play.
Embiid has missed nine games this season with five of them coming during one of the Sixers' back-to-back sets.
"Obviously, I really want to play," he said. "I feel like that's the missing part of my NBA career."
Updated January 28, 2018