If Joe Ingles‘ left knee injury sidelines him for an extended period, it won’t be easy for the Jazz to replace his presence on the court and in the locker room, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. While Ingles still has to undergo an MRI to confirm the severity of the injury, team doctors – who conducted an initial examination on Sunday – fear that it’s significant, according to Jones.
“It’s not even about the basketball at this point,” Jazz forward Rudy Gay said. “Just having him in the locker room is good for us. That’s our guy.”
“Seeing Joe at halftime, that took a lot out of guys,” Jazz point guard Mike Conley said. “Seeing him in pain. Seeing him in tears that was tough. We knew how much this meant to him. All we could do was tell him that we loved him and tell him to keep his head up.”
Ingles, who is on an expiring contract, was already considered a potential trade candidate for a Jazz team seeking a defensive upgrade on the wing. If the 34-year-old is ruled out for several months – or possibly the rest of the season – as a result of his knee injury, the Jazz will be under even more pressure to acquire another forward or wing if they want to have a chance to seriously contend for a title this season.
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman considers what Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s right ankle injury means for the Thunder in both the short- and long-term. The team will get an extended look at rookie Josh Giddey as the primary creator on offense, with Ty Jerome, Theo Maledon, and Tre Mann playing increased roles. Oklahoma City also could see its lottery odds increase, given how poorly the club has played without Gilgeous-Alexander this season.
- Malik Beasley‘s last five games have been a microcosm of his season as a whole — the Timberwolves wing scored 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting in Phoenix on Friday, but put up a total of 17 points on 7-of-31 shooting in the other four contests. As Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes, Minnesota badly needs to see Friday’s version of Beasley more often. “It’s on him now,” head coach Chris Finch said. “He’s got to have the right approach. He’s got to stay confident and it’s on him. Opportunity is never going to be the issue. Never going to be the issue.”
- The Nuggets have been impressed with the growth they’ve seen from rookie Bones Hyland, who has been given more ball-handling responsibilities on the team’s second unit, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “I’m proud of Bones,” head coach Michael Malone said. “Going out there, playing with great pace, making plays for his teammates, taking the open shot, guarding, competing, and that’s what you want to see from a young player like that who’s got so much potential in front of him.” Hyland’s play has helped Denver remain in contention while Jamal Murray recovers from ACL surgery.