Joe Ingles Talks Impending Bucks Debut, ACL Rehab, Teammates

Bucks forward Joe Ingles is scheduled to play his first game for his new club on Monday against the Pelicans, after missing the team’s first two months of games while finishing up his rehabilitation from a January 30 ACL tear. Ingles departed the Jazz in free agency this summer to link up with the 2021 champs on a one-season, $6.48MM deal.

The 35-year-old sat down with Eric Nehm of The Athletic for an extensive conversation about his ACL recovery and upcoming return to the hardwood, his new teammates, his expectations for himself, and his incessant chattiness.

Ingles is already made a positive impression on his teammates and coaches away from the court. Milwaukee is hoping that on the court he can help the team with floor spacing and frisky defense. For his career, he’s averaging 8.6 PPG on .449/.408/.768 shooting, plus 3.8 APG and 3.2 RPG.

“He’s just, he’s a good basketball player,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “That’s just an all-encompassing thing. His passing is probably the thing that stands out most. We always need 3-point shooting and guys that can knock it down in different environments, in different situations. So, his 3-point shooting, I think is going to be really helpful for us. We feel like he’s smart, tough, a little bit edgy defender.”

Here are a few quotes from Ingles from the Nehm piece, well worth reading in full.

On his extended rehab from his first major NBA injury:

“It’s brutal, man, to be honest. I would look at other guys getting injured in the NBA and it’s not that you don’t feel something for them, but I don’t know what they’re going through. You hope they’re well, you hope they’re good mentally, physically, all that, but yeah, I mean, it was brutal. It’s f—ing brutal. I had some bad days.

“Obviously, some really good days. The good days were good because I was able to tick a lot of boxes and kind of keep moving forward with my knee, but the fact of like missing the game, missing my teammates. I was living in Utah but had been traded, so I really didn’t have a team. It was the first time in my life that I hadn’t been in a text group with the guys. You miss that stuff and that was the stuff that I probably didn’t realize as much.”

On his support system while recovering:

“I mean, [wife] Renae and the kids were like the backbone of everything. I rehabbed as much as I rehabbed and it’s probably why I’m back a bit soon like Renae was the backbone. I was out of the house eight-to-five most days; it was a brutal day-to-day process as you’re ticking those boxes, but you get to a certain point and kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel a little bit and it still hasn’t hit home yet, probably not until Monday when I’m out there warming up.”

On his feelings ahead of his return:

“I’ll be excited. It will be fun to get back out there and nervous because, like I said, playing with new guys, guys I’ve never played with, in a real game. New Orleans is not going to give a f— that it’s my first game. That part of it is the nerves and stuff, but also, once I get out there, I think I’ll be fine. It’s that natural, it’s like riding a bike once I’m back out there. I’ll be fine, but there will be nerves.

“But at the end of the day, I know I’ve done the work. I was telling someone earlier, I’ve worked my ass off for the last 11 months. I’m very lucky that I have a wife and kids that have told me to get out the door and spend as much time as you need and do it, rehab, recovery. And I think that is part of getting back a bit earlier. There is a process to it and I’m lucky that I’ve had that. I don’t know other people’s situations, but it’s tough. She’s got three kids and she’s at home alone, but she’s still like, ‘Keep going, keep going. Keep getting out of the house. Keep doing more and more.’ If I wanted to do some extra work with the staff, I was able to.”

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