When the Mavericks finally announced that Chandler Parsons had a "hybrid microfracture" surgery after months of staying quiet about what his surgery actually was, most weren't sure what to make of the news. Parsons has had some good moments here and there, but mostly he has struggled to re-gain any consistent sense of his former self.
The staff discusses: are we worried Parsons might not get back to full strength at all this season? If he does, when can we expect to see it?
Oh no, not this again.
Like last year, Chandler Parsons appears to be struggling. He certainly doesn't always look right, passing up looks we've come to expect him taking and failing to explode towards the rim on finishes in the lane. But unlike last year, Parsons has a pretty good reason for this, with his rigid minutes restriction holding him back every step of the way.
When you grade his per minute production, Parsons really isn't too far off his career averages. The lack of minutes have dampened his "good" games, it seems to me, while his bad ones are still obvious. While there's clearly room for improvement, the minutes restriction being lifted in the next month or so will immediately make him look better. Just like we said a year ago: give him time. He'll be fine.
I suppose I'm mildly concerned with how he's progressing. That said, it's still surprising that he's even seeing this much playing time. He's repeatedly said in the locker room that his knee feels fine. Though, it's evident that he's frustrated with his progress. He's said it outright and his body language has spoken volumes at times.
That frustration stems from his inconsistent play. His minute restrictions haven't allowed him to get into a rhythm on the court, or so he says. He has shown flashes of his former self, though. Notably against the Phoenix Suns. I think that we could see Parsons return to form this season. I just don't think it will be any time before the All Star break.
I'm pretty concerned. We all know he's struggling to round into form, and that's to be expected. The Mavs may be calling it a 'hybrid microfracture' surgery, but microfracture is still in the name and it isn't anything to mess with.
What I'm more concerned about is Parsons' psyche. He wasn't able to take the next step he wanted to take last year because of the team's makeup, and won't do it this year either. That has to be a tough thing to overcome mentally, especially with the minutes restriction and inconsistency.
We'll see how things look near the All-Star break, but you have to think he's going to opt-in for next year. I don't think a team is going to pay him $15 million after this season. But, maybe he turns it around in the second half of the season. Plenty of basketball left, but hard not to be concerned.
I'm not concerned. This was expected, at least I thought. It's valiant that he's even attempting to play right now just seven months after that surgery, but I surely didn't expect him to come out and play at an All-Star level this year. It's going to take some time. It might take him all of this year to play back into form before coming back next year, at full strength.
What has to be getting to him the most is coming off the bench and having this minutes restriction. He wants to be the future face of the franchise, and he's playing his way back into game form. Not being able to play the 35 minutes a night you want and giving your team a chance to win would hurt anyone's psyche. If it takes all year, that's fine. My expectations for this team are still at the .500 mark, so it's not like he's needed desperately right now.
Worried? Of course, to some extent. Anytime an athlete undergoes knee surgery there's always a fear they'll never be just quite the same.
But this is the Mavs medical staff -- they're practically batting 1.000 when it comes to rehabbing and getting guys healthy. We all knew Parsons would struggle for the remainder of 2015, it's just hard to be patient.
As Tim said, he hasn't actually been that bad production-wise and he still hasn't hit 30 minutes played in a game yet. My guess is he'll be near his old self after the All-Star break and he'll continue to be a sixth man till then. Remember, Dirk a couple years ago had a relatively minimal knee surgery and it took him months before he even resembled his old self. Parsons will get there -- trust the one aspect of the Mavs front office (training/medical staff) that has produced year after year.
I have significant concerns about Parsons' health. He still can't reach his highest gear, which is imperative to his game. Parsons is a slasher first and foremost. He becomes a pedestrian player if he can't get into the lane or elevate around the rim.
His transition game is non-existent as of now and the Mavericks sorely need it. Parsons doesn't even look at the rim anymore when he gets a transition opportunity. That'll be the key indicator to Parsons' level of health. If he gets to 100 percent, he'll be flying around in the open court looking to make plays and finishing above the rim.
It's a long season, Parsons has a great work ethic, and Casey Magic is a mystical being. Chandler could end up being just fine, but it's surely no guarantee.
My main concern with Parsons is the timeline of his injury. He sits out the last two weeks of the regular season because of lingering knee issues. They bring him back for the playoffs and he plays 35 minutes in Game 1 and looks terrible so they shut him down. After that, they announce he needs a minor surgery which ends up being a "hybrid microfacture" that they keep super hush-hush about.
There's only two possible explanations - they rushed him back too quickly and he ended up making the injury worse or he never should have been playing on that knee in the first place. If it was a minor surgery the way they handled the injury maybe isn't a big deal except it has been almost eight months and he still isn't moving well and he's on a serious minute restriction, which doesn't really sound like a recovery period from a minor surgery. There's a reason Nellie shut down Dirk in the 2003 WCF - you don't want to mess around with these kinds of injuries because they can affect careers.
I'll believe Parsons is recovered when he isn't moving around like an old man and it doesn't look like he's playing with cement in his shoes when it comes to getting lift off the ground. Until then, I'm going to be pretty concerned.