Joe Ingles hasn’t even had surgery yet to repair his torn left ACL, a season-ending injury sustained on Sunday night. Even so, he’s certain that he isn’t done playing basketball and hopes that his best days are still ahead of him.
The 34-year-old small forward spoke with local reporters for than 30 minutes on Friday morning and covered everything from how he felt in the moments following his collapse on the court in Minnesota on Sunday to what his future plans are.
Most notably, Ingles said that he’s always looked at 2024 as a time when he would take a step back and decide whether he was ready for retirement. That’s still his plan.
Ingles is set to have surgery on his left knee in the coming weeks and then will be sidelined for roughly a year. But he doesn’t have plans of ending his career and instead is focused on getting back to playing so he can compete in 2023 and play in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Highlights from talking with Joe Ingles this morning:— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) February 4, 2022
-He's completely aware of what lies ahead as far as rehab and recovery. He doesn't see a way he doesn't return to playing. He's not done.
-When will he be done? He wants to play in the Paris Olympics (2024). Then he'll decide
“I’m still gonna go to Paris, I’m still gonna play before that,” Ingles said. “That’s still the plan.”
Ingles was also up front about understanding the position the Jazz are in and that he was on the trade block before his injury, and knows that there is a high probability the Jazz will move his contract before the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
No matter what the Jazz decide to do, Ingles has a plan for his recovery and he’ll do that in Utah with a team of people that he already knows and trusts. But outside of that, he’s not going to uproot his family so that he can rehab somewhere new. Those decisions will come later.
“I’m not stupid,” Ingles said with a laugh. “Regardless of what happens the next four or five days I’m going to be here. The kids are in school ... it would be selfish of me to pull them out of that and take them to Australia or take them somewhere else and set up base for the next period.”
Though Ingles knows that his immediate future is uncertain as far as his contract is concerned, he’s not closing the door on returning to the Jazz in the future if he does leave this season. Team sources have indicated that there will be options for Ingles to remain associated with the Jazz, even if that’s not as a player.
-Weirded out by people reaching out and talking about him like he's dead.— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) February 4, 2022
-Knows that there is going to be a really tough mental battle ahead having never really been away from the game.
-He's not going to be leaving Utah during rehab no matter what ends up happening.