After missing the Los Angeles Lakers’ last eight games with a groin injury, Brandon Ingram sounds like he’s just days away from making his highly anticipated return to the floor.
“I feel really good, actually,” Ingram said following practice on Saturday. “Started getting back on the court a little bit ... back to smiling again, happy to be out here.
“The next step for me is trying to get on the court and going against some of the guys, trying to ramp it up a little this week depending on how I feel.”
The Lakers announced Friday Ingram has been cleared to participate in non-contact basketball activities and is considered day-to-day. Head coach Luke Walton said the team won’t practice again until Wednesday in New Orleans, where Ingram is hopeful he’ll be able to go up against someone for the first time in weeks.
“Hopefully this week,” Ingram said. “I’ll listen to the trainers, but it’s really how my body reacts every single day. Lately, it’s been feeling good with how I get on the court and not being sore afterward, so hopefully soon ... hopefully, I can get to practice in New Orleans and practice with the guys. It’s been a long time since I practiced with them, so hopefully, I can get out there and do some contact drills.”
If Ingram goes through practice with no issues on Wednesday, there’s a good chance he suits up on Thursday when the Lakers take on the No. 6 seed New Orleans Pelicans. Until then, he’ll have to watch his teams from the sidelines, like he has been for the past few weeks.
“It has been boring. I don’t do anything else but play basketball,” Ingram said. “I picked up on sleep a little bit, I went bowling, I shopped a little bit too much ... I’m always going for clothes. I’m a little fashion guy, but I think I need to get back to basketball because I’ve been doing a little overspending.”
However, Ingram said he does see the value in watching games from the bench, particularly in crunch time where the Lakers have leaned on him quite a bit this season.
“Sitting there and watching I’ve actually gained confidence seeing I can make that play at the end of the game,” Ingram said.
The Lakers will have to push through at least one more game without Ingram Monday in Indiana against the Pacers. Hopefully by tip-off Thursday, B.I. will finally be good to go.
All quotes were transcribed via the official practice report by the Lakers, which can be found here.