Utah Jazz swingman Joe Ingles has expressed his desire to protect his family from the novel coronavirus, even at the cost of sitting out NBA games
With the curve of the novel coronavirus successfully being flattened in the State of Utah, and moving from the orange to the yellow zone, talk of Utah Jazz basketball coming back has sounded more realistic than a pipe dream.
Players are now welcome back at the practice facility, and as a result we’ve seen various Jazz players return to the Wasatch Front to put in work with assistant coaches in their team’s practice and workout gym.
One player that was not fortunate enough to get very many shots up in the gym during his quarantine was Joe Ingles.
He didn’t have any hoop to shoot at until Lifetime Products installed one at his home in Salt Lake.
You would think Ingles would be one of the first to get back to the practice facility, but think again.
Back in late March Ingles told Sam Amick of The Athletic (subscription required) that he was willing to walk away from basketball rather than put his family through the novel coronavirus.
The virus is more of a threat for kids with autism, given that those on the autism spectrum generally have weaker immune systems. Slo Mo Joe has made it public knowledge of how much he treasures his family, and especially his autistic son Jacob.
He’s also never been one to prioritize basketball over his family, which is something that I really agree with on a personal level. That’s the reason he’s never had a basketball hoop installed at his personal home during his professional career, so he can keep work and family separate.
But in addition to protecting his wife and twins, there’s even more of an incentive for the Ingles family to be cautious with the virus. On Wednesday Joe’s wife Renae announced that the couple is expecting their third child.
Those that are pregnant are considered as part of the high risk group that needs extra care should they contract the novel coronavirus. Having said that, Joe’s intentions make perfect sense to steer clear of all the germs out in the public.
On his weekly radio show with DJ and PK (1280 The Zone), Ingles explained that his decision to not participate in the early re-opening of the practice facility also has to do with the uncertainty of the NBA’s season.
He indicated that it’s not necessarily a final decision to stay away from the team facility by any means, but that he can make a better decision when he knows for sure whether his Utah Jazz will finish their 2019-20 season.
Should the league decide to finish the season, it will have to be an abbreviated finish taking place in the same setting, such as Las Vegas.
The players and coaches will all be heavily monitored to make sure they receive proper treatment should they be contagious with the novel coronavirus.
If 15 players plus the coaching staff, officials, statisticians, arena workers, media crews are present for 16 or even 30 NBA teams, it adds up to a lot of people gathering together from all over the country.
It could be a risky environment for those with young families to travel back to once their respective season is over. It may even be too much for Jinglin’ Joe to be willing to play for, which is perfectly fine since that would be best for his family.
There’s no doubt that the Utah Jazz would be missing his presence on the court though, as he is the second-longest tenured player on the roster and very trusted by Quin Snyder.
He’s logged 867 playoff minutes for the Jazz in the past three years, and plays an important role as the glue guy that takes tough defensive assignments, hits timely threes, and threads the needle with his passing to Rudy Gobert in the pick and roll.