Jazz Full Focus On Ingles Knee After Loss To Wolves
SALT LAKE CITY – Though the Utah Jazz fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves 126-106, the final score was far from the area of focus after the loss.
Veteran guard Joe Ingles suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury midway through the second quarter and was carried off the floor by teammates after collapsing in obvious pain.
The Jazz were already shorthanded, playing without Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert for their fourth straight outing. Mitchell’s absence marked the team’s sixth straight game without the guard after suffering a concussion on January 17 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gobert has missed the team’s last four games after suffering a strained calf in last Sunday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors.
With the loss to Minnesota, the Jazz winless streak extended to five games ahead of their six-game homestand which begins Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.
Ingles Leaves Game With Knee Injury
The lasting impact of this game will be the serious knee injury Ingles suffered midway through the second quarter that resulted in his teammates carrying him off the floor and into the locker room.
Ingles was driving to the paint when his knee buckled on a non-contact knee injury, sending the guard to the floor screaming in pain.
The guard is scheduled to get an MRI on the knee Monday morning, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team fears the injury is serious.
The injury marks a low point amid an already difficult month that saw the Jazz go just 4-12 in 16 January games.
The Jazz had been hamstrung by both the coronavirus, and a series of smaller injuries, but had avoided any serious pitfalls prior to Ingles injury.
However, the guard’s injury is a major blow to the team’s current depth chart as Ingles averaged 25 per game, the seventh most on the roster.
“What Joe brings to our team, the intangibles, his playmaking, his ability to find guys ability to space the floor, his IQ, it’s tough to replace a guy like that,” Mike Conley said after the game.
Ingles is averaging 7.4 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from the floor and 35 percent from the three-point line.
The guard had appeared in 45 games with the Jazz this season.
House Jr. Likely Gets Roster Spot
Though the Jazz won’t know the extent of Ingles injury until after Monday’s MRI, the injury means the team is almost certain to sign veteran Danuel House Jr. for the remainder of the season.
House Jr. won’t be available for the Jazz this week after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols along with head coach Quin Snyder before the loss to Minnesota but had been perhaps the lone bright spot for the team in January.
The wing averaged 8.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in eight appearances with the Jazz, including a season-high 21 points in Friday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
House Jr. was a likely candidate to take one of the team’s roster spots after the trade deadline but is nearly guaranteed the opportunity now after Ingles injury.
The two veterans don’t play a similar style of game as Ingles operates predominantly as an offensive initiator in the halfcourt while House Jr. utilizes his athleticism and spot-up shooting to score in transition.
The newest Jazzman has also brought much-needed athleticism on the defensive end for the roster. House Jr. can clear the NBA’s covid protocols with a series of negative tests ahead of the coming weekend.
Jazz Need To Get Right Over Next Games
The Jazz have two days off to rest up before returning to the floor on Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets and are in desperate need of a fresh start in February.
The Jazz will be without their head coach to open the homestand, but are hoping Gobert and Mitchell will be available against the Denver Nuggets.
Mitchell traveled with the team to Memphis and Minnesota but wasn’t able to fully clear concussion protocol before returning to Utah.
Gobert didn’t travel with the team as their losing streak continued.
“We’re going through this now,” veteran Rudy Gay said of the team’s recent rough stretch, “it’s going to make us tougher.”
The good news for the Jazz is there will be plenty of rest to open the homestand to hopefully get a fuller roster back on the floor.
The Jazz will play just two games over the next seven days before finishing the six-game homestand with four games in eight days.
Here’s a look at the upcoming home schedule:
Wednesday: Vs. Denver Nuggets
Saturday: Vs. Brooklyn Nets
Monday: Vs. New York Knicks
Wednesday: Vs. Golden State Warriors
Thursday: Vs. Orlando Magic
Saturday: Vs. Houston Rockets
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