After a successful morning shootaround, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton said Brandon Ingram remained on track to start Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies. The second-year head coach surmised his young forward would likely be on a minutes restriction after missing two games due to quad injuries.
Final determination on Ingram’s status came less than two hours prior to tip-off at Staples Center. Walton joked the maximum number of minutes Ingram would play was 48. While it was said tongue-in-cheek, Ingram played 44 minutes in the loss, most of any player on either team.
“I felt good mentally and physically. Of course, I may be sore but I’ll deal with that,” he said postgame.
Ingram didn’t show any ill-effects of the lower-body issues that forced him to sit out. He attacked the basket with the same aggression seen since November.
“He was doing a nice job of getting to the rim. It was nice having him back,” Walton said.
“That’s what we talked about before the game, is his ability to put pressure on the rim and collapse the defense. He’s a much better free-throw shooter than he shot tonight and than he’s shot this season. It’s still impressive watching him continue to grow as a player.”
Missing two games frustrated the 20-year-old, particularly when taking into account he’s enjoyed a relatively healthy playing career. “As a player, you want to be on the basketball floor,” Ingram reiterated. “Try to be effective on the offensive and defensive end.”
The Lakers are currently in a stretch where they at least play every other day through Jan. 23. The team has a back-to-back looming on Sunday and Monday.
Considering Ingram anticipates dealing with some soreness, recovery and tending to his body will be of the utmost importance. “Just listen to the trainers and try to do whatever I can to recover,” Ingram said.
“Whether it’s the ice tube, getting massages, whatever it is so I can get back to being fresh on gamedays.”