When the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Brandon Ingram would have to sit out for the rest of the season as he received treatment for newly discovered blood clotting in his shoulder, it was received as universally sad news.
Lakers star LeBron James and several of Ingram’s other teammates expressed their sadness that the best basketball of Ingram’s career would have to come to a screeching halt due to a totally unforeseeable and worrying health issue, but notably missing from that chorus of well-wishers was Kyle Kuzma, whose locker sits mere feet away from Ingram’s.
That silence was because — per NBA protocol — Kuzma wasn’t available to speak with the media while he was out with an injury of his own. Right after he returned in the Lakers’ 123-107 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night, Kuzma talked to reporters about why he feels so bad that Ingram has to sit out right now (via Kyle Goon of the O.C. Register):
Kuz continued on Brandon Ingram: "He never sits out at practice, he’s always in the gym. He can’t do nothing for at least, I don’t know how long they said, to be on blood thinners and not do anything -- I couldn’t imagine what it’s like so I feel for him every day."— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) March 13, 2019
Kuzma is right about how bad Ingram wants to be great, and the saddest part about this is that he was really heading towards the level of play he wants to reach, averaging 25.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists on a scorching-hot 64.5 true-shooting percentage over his last 10 games before being declared done for the year. He still wasn’t happy about it because it wasn’t coming amidst wins, but it was a step in the right direction on the path to potential greatness that Ingram hopes he’s on.
Thankfully, at least as of right now, there is no reason to believe that path is derailed permanently:
Regarding Brandon Ingram's injury:— GlassHalfFultz (@pickuphoop) March 10, 2019
-19 athletes in top 4 American leagues were diagnosed with a Upper Extremity DVT (UEDVT) with no pulmonary embolism
-All 19 returned to play with an average return time being 4.3 months
-Ingram is the first documented case of a UEDVT in the NBA
Basically, Ingram’s case of Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) is in the upper-extremities, which is evidently less-concerning long-term than lower-extremities (like the legs). This is not exactly the same situation as Chris Bosh, and it could just be a one-time thing.
We should all be hoping so, because as Ingram’s teammates’ reactions to his situation have made clear over the last several days, there are very few players in the locker room more well-liked than the affable “Tiny Dog,” and even fewer who want this as badly as he does. For his sake, let’s hope for the best.
Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for the latest updates on Ingram’s situation. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.