Although Carmelo Anthony is in his 13th season and Jabari Parker is in his second, they are both going through uncharted territory in terms of returning from a serious injury.
These forwards are seeking improvement Friday night when Anthony and the New York Knicks try to post their first home win as they face Parker's Milwaukee Bucks.
Anthony is shooting 36.5 percent after his previous career low was 42.6 as a rookie. He missed the final 30 games last season with a knee injury that required surgery.
"Honestly I didn't know what to expect," said Anthony, who has made 10 of 35 shots in consecutive losses. "I'm just kind of experiencing it, a first-time experience, just going through it and dealing with it day by day."
Parker is also going through a comeback after being limited to 25 games as a rookie due to a torn ACL. He made his season debut Wednesday and made 1 of 6 shots for his only two points in 16 minutes in a 91-87 win over Philadelphia.
"They did a good job of taking me out, putting me back in at certain times of the game so I feel I can build off this," said Parker, last year's No. 2 overall pick.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd said he plans to increase Parker's minutes this weekend in a back-to-back set.
"Now we'll see how he feels and hopefully we can continue to add minutes," Kidd said.
Milwaukee (2-3) will be out to avenge a 122-97 home defeat to New York (2-3) in the season opener last Thursday. Derrick Williams scored 24 to lead seven Knicks in double digits in points, with Langston Galloway and rookie Kristaps Porzingis each chipping in 16.
This matchup will look different and not just because Parker will be on the court. The Bucks played without the suspended Giannis Antetokounmpo while Tyler Ennis was out after shoulder surgery.
Antetokounmpo is averaging a team-high 21.3 points in four games since returning and Ennis made his season debut Wednesday.
The Bucks are hoping Michael Carter-Williams can return from a one-game absence due to a sore left ankle. Their rotation has been in flux due to absences, with Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton shouldering a major load.
"Khris and Giannis have logged heavy minutes early on so hopefully we get healthy over the weekend so that we can get guys out on the floor and kind of get into a routine," Kidd said.
Milwaukee's John Henson has been out since injuring his Achilles in the opener.
Arron Afflalo may make his Knicks debut. The guard, a former Denver teammate with Anthony who signed as a free agent from Portland, has been out with a strained hamstring.
The Knicks are 0-2 at home for their worst such start since beginning 0-3 in 2006-07. They fell 96-86 at Cleveland on Wednesday, with Anthony recording 17 points and 12 boards.
"Right now, it feels like we're kind of playing kind of three-fourths of the game and then we just have lapses here and there that give the opposing teams some confidence," Anthony said.
Milwaukee has captured two straight since an 0-3 start. The Bucks, who have the NBA's best assist-to-field goal ratio at 0.68, took both meetings at Madison Square Garden last season after losing five straight there.