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Joe Ingles Found Comfort Returning To NBA Season From Wife Renae

Renae Ingles of the Thunderbirds celebrates her last game with husband Joe and twins Jacob and Milla during the round 14 Super Netball match between the Thunderbirds and Magpies at Titanium Security Arena on May 28, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are gearing up to resume the NBA season. Players from the team have returned to Salt Lake City for individual workouts as they prepare to travel to Florida over the next 10 days. As of July 1, all teams must submit their final rosters to the NBA before they head to The Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando. While the Jazz will make the trip with their healthy roster intact, (only the injured Bojan Bogdanovic won’t join the team) guard Joe Ingles wasn’t always so confident in returning.

 “I don’t know how much I am willing to do that as much as I love playing basketball,” Ingles said in April when asked about traveling to Orlando to finish the season. “So two or three months without them would be borderline impossible for me. But, obviously, we will wait until a decision is made and obviously go from there.” 

Now, thanks in large part to the support from his wife, former professional netballer Renae Ingles, the Jazz guard is set to help the Jazz in their playoff chase.

“She was probably a lot more confident in me playing them than I was myself,” Ingles said.

Having already qualified for the playoffs, the Jazz are guaranteed to remain in Orlando through late August. If the team advances past the first round of the playoffs, the Jazz stay will stretch into September and beyond. While leaving home will be difficult for most NBA players, the Ingles family faces unique considerations.

“With Renae being pregnant, and with my son, Jacob with the autism and his immune system being compromised,” Ingles said. “It was just a scary time.”

Ingles Comfort Returning

As the understanding of the COVID-19 virus evolved, so too did Ingles comfort in returning to action. With the help of wife, the Jazz guard was able to find more comfort in the idea of finishing the season.

“If they had said we will come back in two weeks’ time, there would have been no way I would have gone,” Ingles said of his initial feelings. “I think Renee was saying yesterday we’re at like 100 and something days since that happened and we know a lot more we know what I can do myself to be safe and put myself in a good position.”

The Jazz were at the epicenter of the league’s coronavirus outbreak. On March 11, center Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive for the virus. The next morning, guard Donovan Mitchell also tested positive.

With help from his wife, and conversations with the NBA, Ingles decided he was comfortable returning.

“The NBA has been good with keeping us in tune with what’s going on — what the protocols are going to be,” Ingles said.

“To say that I’m completely comfortable, I’m definitely not, but I’m going to put myself in a position to be as safe as possible.”

Jazz Chances

Without Bogdanovic, the Jazz will return to the court minus their second-leading scorer. Despite the loss, Ingles is optimistic about the team’s chances when returning.

“I know our guys have been working,” Ingles said. “We haven’t been allowed to practice as a team or anything like that. So it’s still a little unknown how it all pieced together. But we’ll obviously come back when we can as a group.”

The Jazz can begin practicing together once they land in Orlando. The team will then have three weeks to prepare as a group before resuming the regular season on July 30. Despite returning shorthanded, Ingles said he believes the team’s preparedness can give them an advantage when finishing the season.

“One of the cool things about doing it is if teams haven’t been taking care of themselves individually or as a team, then you can really get a kind of jump on a team,” Ingles said. “I feel like we’ll be ready.

“There’s obviously going to be some players or some teams that either didn’t think it was happening or hadn’t been working as hard. So at the end of the day, we hope that everyone stays healthy and injury-free, and that’s a good way to finish the season. And if the Jazz get crowned the champions, that would be nice.”

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