For the first time in 384 regular-season games, Ingles was out of the lineup when Utah beat the Bucks 131-118 on Friday in Milwaukee, sitting with an Achilles sore right. This ended what had been the longest streak of active consecutive games played in the league.
“He would play if he could,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. “There were a lot of times he played pain, and probably an injury that he didn’t tell us about sometimes. ”
It is not hyperbole either. Over the years, Ingles has performed with a sprained middle finger and a sprained left ankle. He even continued to play after learning that his son, Jacob, had been diagnosed with autism.
Because of this, this was the first time Donovan Mitchell had played an NBA game without Ingles being active. And, yes, things were a little strange.
“It was weird. There are a lot of things that I didn’t realize Joe was doing before he was around, ”Mitchell said.
Of course, that included handling the ball, giving the Jazz a perimeter defense and another shooter, but these are the things outside of the game that Mitchell noticed the most.
“Before the warm-ups we had a little handshake, the intro we had a handshake, shouting some things at him in a locker room 20 minutes from the clock. There are just little things that you are missing, ”Mitchell said.
Ingles hadn’t missed a game since Dec. 16, 2015, a streak that spanned five years and a total of 418 games, if you include the playoffs. Friday’s contest in Milwaukee was just Ingles’ fifth game failure in his seven-year NBA career. He’s played in every game for the past four seasons.
His streak was the longest for a jazz player since John Stockton played 442 straight regular season games from 1997 to 2003. Sacramento Kings goalie Cory Joseph is now the league’s active leader with 274 straight games. entering Friday.
“As much as anything, it makes you pause for a second,” Snyder said of the streak. “And you think about what a back-to-back game like that means and what it says about Joe – his toughness, his commitment, the type of teammate he is.… You understand why you respect him the way you do. .
Ingles has often downplayed the importance of streak over the years – and did it again on Friday, say ESPN, “I don’t know what the problem is, honestly. ”
He was always proud to play the game as much as he could. When some teammates rested for the playoffs, he played. When some players needed a day off due to pain, he would trot there. It’s his job to play basketball; he always felt that was what he had to do.
“Because I get paid to play basketball,” Ingles said last August when most of Utah’s starters were absent from games leading up to the NBA playoffs. “Again, it’s my job, it’s what I love to do. When I was a kid I played for lollipops – that was the first thing that ever took me to a court. … I loved it ever since. I am not. play for statistics, numbers or the history book. … I love to play and Quin knows it. ”
So expect a new streak to begin as soon as Ingles is healthy enough to return, which Mitchell says will be sooner rather than later.
“It’s really weird not having him there, but he’ll be back in the next game,” Mitchell said. “He had a really, really great streak. Compliments to him for doing this in his career. It’s pretty wild. It’s impressive, that’s for sure. ”
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