SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz leave for Orlando on Tuesday, and the team still has plenty of concerns about staying safe inside the “NBA bubble” at the Wide World of Sports Complex.
“To say that I’m completely comfortable, I’m definitely not,” said Jazz forward Joe Ingles. “But I’m going to obviously put myself in a position to be as safe as possible. I’m going to spend a lot of time in my room with my coffee machine and get to know it really well.”
“We don’t want to go down there if it’s not safe,” said point guard Mike Conley. “The NBA has done everything they can to make it as zip-tight as possible.”
Ingles initially said he would not play if the season resumed because his autistic son Jacob has a compromised immune system. But he now feels safer with the NBA plan, but will remain diligent once he gets to Orlando.
“I think one of the scarier parts is once this is all over with, going back to my family and not having symptoms and then taking it back,” Ingles said. “So, going back will be something I’m very cautious with as well. The hardest part is just leaving them. I think it’s a minimum of seven or eight weeks we’ll be gone, which will be the longest I’ve been away from my kids.”
Ingles’ wife Renae is expecting the couple’s third child in November. Conley’s wife is due on August 27th, when the Jazz could still be in the playoffs.
“If I leave to go see my baby born, I’m going to be quarantined on the way back in,” Conley said. “I’ll possibly have to miss a game or whatever. But ultimately my wife understands how much this game means, and how much being able to participate and play for a championship means.”
It also means a lot to Conley and the team to keep the fight against systemic racism going strong when the teams start playing games.
“I think it’s very important to keep it in our minds,” Conley said. “I think it’s the perfect opportunity for us to continue to put the pedal to the metal on this, and not to take our minds off of it at all.”
The Jazz plan on doing something to recognize the Black Lives Matter movement, but haven’t revealed any details yet.
“We will have something,” Conley said. “I’m not sure exactly what it will be right now. We want to continue to create awareness of the situation we’re in right now.
As for the basketball side of things, the Jazz are currently working out individually with one coach and one rebounder. But they will be able to practice as a team once they get to Orlando.
With Bojan Bogdanovic out after having wrist surgery, Conley, Ingles and others are going to have to pick up the scoring slack.
“It’s a good opportunity to play a role that I haven’t had to play so far this year,” Conley said. “I’m just preparing my body and mind. Me and Donovan have talked a lot on the phone, just talking about what we have to do and what we have to carry if we want to accomplish what we want to accomplish without Bojan.”
“I’m not going to go into a game and feel like I’ve got to try to be Bojan or try to score like Bojan,” Ingles said. “I think it will be a collective kind of effort.”