'That took a lot out of guys': Loss to Wolves an afterthought as Ingles goes down with injury

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SALT LAKE CITY — As the Jazz players entered the locker room for halftime, their focus wasn't on the game.

It was on their friend.

Minutes earlier, they saw Joe Ingles wither on the Target Center floor in pain after suffering a knee injury. As Ingles drove to the hoop with 5:52 left in the first half, he planted on his left foot and his knee buckled, which caused him to collapse to the court.

For several minutes, Ingles remained on the ground as trainers and teammates surrounded him. He grimaced as he grabbed his left knee and tears swelled up in his eyes.

The team feared the worst. How could they not? Ingles had once played in 384 consecutive games (418 if you include the playoffs), and that's not to mention his heavy international workload. If he couldn't play — let alone stand — it had to be bad.

Eventually, Ingles was helped off the floor and unable to put any weight on his left leg. The knee was visibly swollen as he was carried back to the locker room.

After witnessing all that, a halftime deficit — and an eventual 126-106 loss to Minnesota — was pushed to the back of every players' mind on Sunday in Minneapolis. When they entered the locker room at the break, they just wanted to know how Ingles was doing.

"We found him in the X-ray room," Mike Conley said. "He was in a tough state and just everybody came in there and told him we loved him, gave him a hug and told him we are going to keep fighting."

As for information, the team didn't receive much as they met with him during the break — at least nothing official. There is fear the injury will prove to be significant. Ingles will have an MRI on Monday in Salt Lake City to determine its severity.

It would have made for a nice movie-esque moment for the Jazz to come back out and scrap together a win; this is real life, though.

Utah was already without Rudy Gobert (left calf strain), Donovan Mitchell (concussion) and the team found out earlier Sunday that coach Quin Snyder tested positive for COVID-19. After Ingles went down, the Jazz were just too emotionally spent.

"The loss hurts a lot but Joe — that took a lot out of guys," Conley said. "Seeing him with tears in his eyes. Just knowing how much this means to him and this game means to him and what we mean to him. It's tough."

There's not much to take away from Utah's fifth-straight loss. Bojan Bogdanovic had 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and Conley finished with 22 points and five assists. Nice stats, but in context, it was pretty meaningless.

Karl-Anthony Town dominated a hurting team by putting up 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Timberwolves. He led a 10-0 run in the third quarter, and the Jazz never recovered. Minnesota's lead grew to 20 points early in the fourth quarter and it remained right around there for the remainder of the game.

Utah's minds were simply elsewhere.

"We were thinking of him the whole second half and trying to get information because he was being looked at by a couple doctors in here," Bogdanovic said. "It looked pretty bad."

With how this month has gone with the injuries, COVID cases and losses piling up, Rudy Gay was asked if the team is starting to feel like they just can't catch a break.

"That's exactly what it feels like," he said. "You have COVID, you have all these other things going on. We are just trying to survive."

Utah is 2-11 in its last 13 games and are just a game up on both Denver and Dallas. Surviving is getting harder and harder.

"Not everything is supposed to be easy," Conley said. "We understand that. This will build more character for us — this adversity that we are going through. We just pray for Joe and hope that it's as minimal as possible, and that he recovers as quickly as possible, and that our team can recover as a group and as a unit, and figure out how to keep moving forward."

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