MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Chandler Parsons, the controversial, oft-injured forward of the Memphis Grizzlies, had his first practice with the team Thursday after basically being exiled from the club for almost two months.
Parsons was all smiles as he returned to the practice court at FedExForum--a place he hasn’t been in two months.
“I’m just happy to be back, feeling pretty good," Parsons told reporters.
The Grizz pretty much sent Parsons away in early January, with the understanding he would sit out the season, train in Los Angeles, and then Memphis would trade him.
Parsons said It wasn’t how he envisioned his rehab to go.
“As much as people probably think I was having fun, it wasn’t that exciting," he said. “It’s fun to be home, in LA in the offseason, but when you’re home on the couch watching your team, it isn’t that cool.”
The whole problem stemmed from the Grizzlies desire to have Parsons finish his knee injury rehab with their G-League affiliate Memphis Hustle.
Parsons, who’s in the third year of a $94 million dollar contract, said the team did not give him an idea on when he would return to the big club.
”As a 30 year old player with three knee injuries, I’m not going down to the G-League to play an open-ended stint," Parsons said. “That’s unheard of. It’s never happened before. You can look all across the league, that’s literally never happened.”
Grizzlies head coach JB Bickerstaff said what’s going to happen is Parsons will be a part of the regular rotation.
“Obviously, needs to play some five-on-five," Bickerstaff said. “We were able to get some in yesterday and today. He did the things that he does. Makes the offensive game simple, makes his teammates better, creates shots for other people. So we’ll see what he’s got.”
Mike Conley, who exhuberantly advocated for Memphis to sign Parsons as a free agent three years ago, is excited for his teammate’s return.
”Good to see him. He’s been a breath of fresh air to see him walk in, smiling and making jokes like he always is. Good to have him back," Conley said.
Parsons only played three games this year before knee soreness set in. A seven-year NBA veteran, he considers this a reboot with the Grizzlies.
“I look at this just as much of a new start as going to another team," Parsons said. "Except, I’m familiar with the city, I’m familiar with the coaching staff, the defensive terminology. I just wanted to play. I wanted to play when I was cleared two months ago, and that hasn’t changed.”
You can see Parsons and the Grizzlies Friday night at FedExForum when they host the LA Clippers.