Joe Ingles

Health Updates: LeBron, Walker, Prince, Bucks, SGA

LeBron James has been helping to keep the Lakers in the play-in race, averaging 36.6 points per game on 58.5% shooting during the club’s 3-2 road trip that wrapped up on Monday.

However, James won’t be available when the Lakers return home and host the Heat on Wednesday. He has been ruled out for the game due to a non-COVID illness, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Lakers guard Lonnie Walker will also miss his third consecutive contest, McMenamin adds. Previously listed as out due to a tailbone contusion, Walker is now on the injury report with left knee soreness.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince intends to make his return to action on Wednesday night vs. Portland, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Prince, who was dealing with a right shoulder subluxation, last played on November 23 — he has missed Minnesota’s last 20 games.
  • After playing on Tuesday night vs. Washington, Jrue Holiday (non-COVID illness) and Joe Ingles (left knee injury management) have been ruled out for the second half of the Bucks‘ back-to-back set on Wednesday in Toronto, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Khris Middleton (right knee soreness) and George Hill (non-COVID illness) will also remain sidelined.
  • Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed Tuesday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, but he’s not on Wednesday’s injury report, so it appears he’ll be available tonight in Orlando, tweets Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder.

Central Notes: Dragic, Vucevic, Ingles, Haliburton, Pistons

Goran Dragic believes teammate Nikola Vucevic is being unfairly blamed for the Bulls‘ disappointing season, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Vucevic isn’t putting up the numbers that he did in Orlando before Chicago acquired him in a 2021 trade, but Dragic believes it’s because the big man is on a team with more scorers.

Dragic compares the situation with the time he spent in Miami with Chris Bosh, who was being criticized by fans for his decreased production, even though he adjusted his game to help the Heat win two titles.

“When you have to do what Chris or Vooch is doing, it’s not possible to live up to previous expectations,’’ Dragic said. “There’s only one ball and three guys that can score. Each guy can score in different ways from a different position. At the end of the day it should be just about winning. Miami conquered that. A guy like CB that sacrifices like that, that might be one of the biggest keys to them getting those championships.’’

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks forward Joe Ingles put together his best game Friday since returning from an ACL tear, posting 14 points, five rebounds and 10 assists in a win over Minnesota, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The performance in his sixth game back made Ingles feel like all the rehab work was worth it. “I would have gone home very happy tonight if we won, especially after the last few games, but just to feel a bit more like myself, getting up the minutes a little more from what I’ve been able to play,” he said. “In the end, you’re helping these guys out to win a game. That’s what I’m here to do — to help create and playmake for these guys and make shots when I can and be annoying on defense and that’s just what I try (to do). Tonight was probably the most natural I felt out there.”
  • After the Pacers pulled out a one-point win over the Clippers on Saturday afternoon, Tyrese Haliburton suggested that the team has benefited from adversity, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “Losing,” Haliburton responded when asked what has made Indiana better at closing out games. “I think as a young team you need that.” 
  • The Pistons‘ only appearance on TNT this season has been taken away, according to Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. A January 10 contest against the Sixers has been replaced by a Thunder-Heat matchup that night. The Pistons’ league-worst record and the loss of Cade Cunningham has made the team less attractive for national television, notes Curtis, who adds that Detroit will still appear on NBA TV on January 19 and March 23.

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.”

Bucks’ Joe Ingles To Make Season Debut On Monday

DECEMBER 17: Ingles completed his workout today and will make his season debut on Monday, his agent Mark Bartelstein confirms to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

DECEMBER 16: Bucks forward Joe Ingles is targeting Monday’s game in New Orleans for his season debut, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Ingles suffered an ACL tear in his left knee in January as a member of the Jazz and underwent surgery to repair the ligament in early February. After missing the rest of the 2021/22 season, the veteran signed a one-year, $6.48MM contract with the Bucks over the summer while he continued his rehab process. That process has extended into the early part of the ’22/23 season.

According to Wojnarowski, there’s just one hurdle left for Ingles to clear — he’ll take part in a 5-on-5 workout on Saturday and if he comes through that session feeling good, the plan is for him to be available for Milwaukee on Monday.

The Bucks began the season with several rotation players sidelined, including star forward Khris Middleton and swingman Pat Connaughton. With Ingles on the verge of returning, the team is nearly at full strength for the first time this fall.

A 40.8% career three-point shooter who can handle the ball and has plenty of postseason experience, Ingles could emerge as a useful contributor for the Bucks, who have championship aspirations. Still, we should probably keep our expectations in check, since Ingles is 35 years old and players returning from ACL tears typically don’t immediately look like their old selves upon returning.

Joe Ingles “Close” To Making Bucks Debut

The Bucks spent their $6.479MM taxpayer midlevel exception on forward Joe Ingles over the summer despite the fact he was rehabbing from a torn ACL after undergoing surgery in February.

Ingles is “close” to making his Milwaukee debut, coach Mike Budenholzer told Eric Nehm of The Athletic on Sunday (Twitter link). Ingles has been assigned to the G League Wisconsin Herd twice this week for practice reps.

“I think it’s fair to say he’s getting close. I mean, if you’re playing with our G League group and you’re playing five on five and live action — but again, part of the questions towards the end of (Khris Middleton‘s rehab) is, you’ve got to get to a conditioning level to be ready to play in an NBA game,” Budenholzer said. “You’ve got to get kind of, I would say, a significant number of reps of just playing and doing things and building up just everything it takes to go into playing an NBA game. So, hopefully, somewhere there is an answer for you.”

Middleton made his season debut on Dec. 2 after rehabbing from wrist surgery. Middleton suffered a minor left ankle sprain in a loss to Houston on Sunday, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.

Over the summer, Ingles expressed optimism he could get back in action by mid-December. It appears that timetable is just about right, though Budenholzer was vague regarding how much conditioning Ingles would require before he’ll suit up.

Ingles was dealt to Portland at the trade deadline in February after he was injured but never suited up for the Trail Blazers. All 590 of his career NBA games came with the Jazz. He averaged 7.2 points and 3.5 assists in 24.9 minutes while appearing in 45 games last season.

Ingles could become a valuable reserve, especially with wings Pat Connaughton and Jordan Nwora both struggling offensively.

Central Notes: Love, Mitchell, Bulls, Ingles

Don’t expect Kevin Love to be on the move before this season’s trade deadline, Chris Fedor of writes in a subscriber-only mailbag. While the Cavaliers will likely peruse the trade market in search of a small forward upgrade, Love’s cap hit of nearly $29MM makes him unlikely to be dealt, according to Fedor, who points to Cedi Osman and Caris LeVert as more logical trade candidates for the team.

The Cavaliers and Love actually have mutual interest in extending their relationship beyond 2022/23, sources tell Fedor. Love will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, and Fedor wouldn’t be surprised if the veteran power forward ends up re-signing with Cleveland at that point on a “more reasonable number that works for both sides.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Cavaliers will be without Donovan Mitchell for a second consecutive night on Saturday due to right lower leg soreness, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). Love, who is battling low back soreness, will also miss his second straight game.
  • The Bulls have no interest in acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Lakers, even if it means adding multiple draft picks, a source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. While Cowley doesn’t explicitly say so, this report appears to be a response to the rumor about the Lakers internally discussing whether Chicago might become open to the idea of moving DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic for Westbrook and draft assets. Cowley acknowledges that the Bulls’ thinking could change before the February trade deadline, but says the focus for now is getting Lonzo Ball back and pushing for a playoff spot.
  • Bucks forward Joe Ingles, who continues to work his way back from an ACL tear, has been assigned to the Wisconsin Herd for a second time for practice reps, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Jordan Nwora and rookie MarJon Beauchamp were also sent to the Herd, Nehm notes.

Cavs’ Rubio, Bucks’ Ingles Making Progress In ACL Recoveries

Guard Ricky Rubio has been cleared to participate in 5-on-5 work, but the Cavaliers won’t rush his recovery from a torn left ACL, reports Chris Fedor of (subscriber link).

He’s back,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said following Thursday’s practice. “He’s going to start doing more and more. More 5-on-5 and those types of things. He’s been given the green light to do that. Now it’s the progression that he has to go through to get ready to play in an NBA game. It’s something we won’t rush. But he’s heading in the right direction.”

Rubio suffered the injury last December, in the same knee that he’d previously torn an ACL several years ago. The Cavs wound up trading his expiring salary to Indiana in the Caris LeVert deal in February, but he signed a three-year contract with Cleveland as a free agent this past summer.

Bucks fans also received some good news on Thursday, as free agent addition Joe Ingles was assigned to the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate, to get some practice reps in (Twitter link via Eric Nehm of The Athletic). Ingles sustained his own torn left ACL in January and had reconstructive surgery in February.

The last update on Ingles’ status came before the season started, when GM Jon Horst said the forward could return in December or January.

The Cavs are currently 16-9, the No. 3 seed in the East, while the Bucks are 18-6, the No. 2 seed, so neither club should feel any sense of urgency to get their respective veterans back. Still, the former Jazz teammates will provide a nice boost of leadership and play-making when they do return to action.

Central Notes: Rubio, Weaver, Cunningham, Williams, Ingles

Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio, who suffered a torn left ACL last December, is hopeful he can return to action this December, but won’t put a timetable on it, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes.

“I wanted to be ready for training camp but I knew it was impossible,” Rubio said. “Talking with my trainers and medical staff, they say 10-12 months but it’s a long range. It changes every week. At the end of the day, putting a date on it, for me personally, I need it. But I think it’s not good to put a date when I’m going to be back.”

Rubio returned to Cleveland on a three-year, $18.4MM contract.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pistons general manager Troy Weaver believes that after a complete overhaul during his regime, the roster is well-stocked at every position, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes. “I feel like we finally have a full complement of players,” he said. “The first two years, we didn’t. It’s my job to make sure we have a roster in place that can come out and compete. I feel like we have a full complement of players, so we can go out and compete now. We’ll be short in experience in some areas, but I’m excited about the roster and where we are.”
  • Pistons second-year guard Cade Cunningham has added nearly 20 pounds and he believes he’ll be more prepared to handle the physicality of the league. “Having a stronger body … it’s a lot harder to get hurt,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to take more bumps and handle the physicality of the NBA. I’ll be a lot more prepared for it this year.”
  • Patrick Williams is excited that the Bulls have high expectations for him after an injury-marred season. However, he’s not trying to approach it any differently, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “I look at every year as a make or break year,” Williams said. “I looked at my rookie year that way, second year and this year is the exact same way.”
  • Bucks forward Joe Ingles could return to action as early as December, according to general manager Jon Horst, ESPN’s Jamal Collier tweets. Ingles, who signed a one-year, $6.5MM contract with Milwaukee early in free agency, is recovering from a torn ACL.

Central Notes: Sexton, Osman, Windler, DeRozan, Ingles

If the Cavaliers resolve their contractual differences with restricted free agent Collin Sexton, it will likely impact another player on a guaranteed contract, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes in his latest mailbag. Adding Sexton would put the team one over the 15-man roster limit.

The Cavaliers would prefer not waive Lamar Stevens and Dean Wade, who are on non-guaranteed deals. Instead, the team would likely look to move either Cedi Osman and Dylan Windler, perhaps in a trade with an asset or two attached to a team like Indiana or San Antonio, who have cap space.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • DeMar DeRozan felt the Bulls weren’t “ready for adversity” last season when injuries piled up, he told Draymond Green on his podcast (hat tip to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago). “We kind of fell apart. We lost ourselves obviously through health,” he said. “Regardless, I think I told one of the young guys after All-Star break, I said this is the moment when you see what teams are serious. He didn’t know what I meant by that. For us to hit the wall that we hit showed that we wasn’t ready for adversity.”
  • During the same podcast, DeRozan spoke of how criticism aimed at the Bulls for engineering a sign-and-trade with San Antonio fueled his highly productive season. He averaged a career-high 27.9 PPG. “My whole career has kind of been based off that (criticism). But I never let it bring me completely down. It knocked me down. But I got back up,” he said. “And for me, that moment of going to Chicago, I just told myself, ‘This is a new opportunity. I’m going to make the most out of it in every type of way.’”
  • The Bucks had plenty of other options with their taxpayer mid-level exception. So why did they choose Joe Ingles, who is recovering from a torn ACL? According to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, they felt Ingles was the most complete player available to them.

Central Notes: Ingles, Nwora, Terry, Travers

Free agent addition Joe Ingles hopes to be back on the court by mid-December and is optimistic that he’ll be able to start playing for the Bucks soon afterward. Ingles, who underwent surgery for a torn ACL in February, made the comments in an interview in his native Australia (Twitter link).

Speaking with Eric Nehm of The Athletic, Milwaukee general manager Jon Horst said that’s roughly the timeline the organization expects for Ingles, but cautioned that the rehab process for an ACL tear can be unpredictable.

“The other factor is just going to be, ‘What do we need? And when?’ Joe can really help us in the regular season and deep into the playoffs and can fit with us and maybe have a future with us going forward beyond this year,” Horst added. “So we’re not going to just rush him on the floor just to get a couple extra regular season games out of him. It’s a bigger-picture play with Joe, so that’ll factor in also. I think we’ll take a pretty patient approach.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Horst also discussed second-year small forward Jordan Nwora, who is a restricted free agent after the Bucks extended a qualifying offer of roughly $2MM. Horst believes restricted free agency “is really just starting to open now” and said the team is working with Nwora’s agent to find the best solution. “I think restricted free agency is tricky, so there’s no other way to do it. Except to be honest with him and just work through it with each other,” Horst said. “We have a roster spot. We’ll have an option to have him if we want and we’ll figure it out together.
  • First-round pick Dalen Terry had to leave the Bulls‘ Summer League game today after suffering a right hamstring injury when he slipped on a wet spot on the court, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. There’s no word on the severity of the injury.
  • Cavaliers swingman Luke Travers left a strong impression in his final Summer League game before returning to Australia, per Chris Fedor of The 56th overall pick, who’s expected to play overseas next season, had 14 points and hit a pair of three-pointers. “I think the future is very bright for Luke,” Summer League coach Mike Gerrity said. “He can impact the game in so many ways. I’m happy we got him.”