Sports / Utah Jazz / 
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) plays against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

On the night Joe Ingles' iron man streak ends, Jazz reflect on his 'toughness'

By Ryan Miller, | Updated - Jan. 8, 2021 at 10:40 p.m. | Posted - Jan. 8, 2021 at 6:40 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The NBA has a new iron man. And likely no one cares less about that than Joe Ingles.

For the first time in 384 regular-season games, Ingles was not in the lineup when Utah beat the Bucks 131-118 Friday in Milwaukee, sitting out due to a sore right Achilles. That put an end to what had been the longest active consecutive games played streak in the league.

"He'd be playing if he could," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "There's been a lot of times that he's played through pain, and probably injury that he hasn't told us about at times."

That's not hyperbole, either. Through the years, Ingles has played through a sprained middle finger and a left ankle sprain. He even continued to play after learning that his son, Jacob, was diagnosed with autism.

Because of that, it was the first time Donovan Mitchell had played an NBA game without Ingles being active. And, yes, things were a little strange.

"It was weird. There are a lot of things I didn't realize that Joe does until he's not there," Mitchell said.

Sure, that included handling the ball, giving the Jazz some perimeter defense and another shooter, but it was the things that outside of the game that Mitchell noticed the most.

"Pregame warmups, we got a little handshake, intro we got a handshake, him yelling certain things in a locker room at 20 minutes on the clock. There's just little things that you miss," Mitchell said.

Ingles hadn't missed a game since Dec. 16, 2015, a streak that has spanned over five years and 418 games total, if you include the playoffs. Friday's contest in Milwaukee was only Ingles' fifth missed game in his seven-year NBA career. He has played in every game in the last four seasons.

His streak was the longest by a Jazz player since John Stockton played 442 consecutive regular-season games from 1997 to 2003. Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph is now the league's active leader with 274 straight games entering Friday.

"As much as anything, it makes you pause for a second," Snyder said of the streak. "And you reflect on what a streak of consecutive games like that means and what it says about Joe — his toughness, his commitment, the type of teammate he is. … You understand why you respect him like you do."

Ingles has often downplayed the streak's significance throughout the years — and did so again on Friday, telling ESPN, "I don't know what the big deal is, honestly."

He has always had pride in playing the game as much as he could. When some teammates rested for the playoffs, he played. When some players needed a day off due to some soreness, he trotted out there. It's his job to play basketball; he always felt that was what he needed to do.

"Because I get paid to play basketball," Ingles said last August as most of Utah's starters sat out games ahead of the NBA playoffs. "Again, it's my job, it's what I love to do. When I was playing as a kid for lollipops — that was the first thing that ever got me on a court. ... I loved it ever since. I'm not playing for stats or for numbers or the history book. ... I love to play and Quin knows that."

So expect a new streak to start as soon as Ingles is healthy enough to get back, which Mitchell says will be sooner than later.

"It's definitely weird to not have him out there but he'll be back next game," Mitchell said. "He had a really, really tremendous streak. Props to him for doing that in his career. it's pretty wild. That's impressive for sure."

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