Lakers’ Brandon Ingram watches a free throw during a preseason game against the Kings at Honda Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)
OKLAHOMA CITY — The smile on Brandon Ingram’s face told the whole story. After completing a full-contact scrimmage on Saturday, the Lakers’ rookie forward sat by the scorer’s table chatting with Lakers coach Luke Walton and head athletic trainer Marco Nunez.
Moments later, both Walton and Ingram said he plans to play when the Lakers (1-1) visit the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-0) on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena so long as he does not experience any setbacks in his sore right knee. The Lakers later diagnosed Ingram with knee tendinitis after an MRI revealed no structural damage, therefore listing him as probable for Sunday’s game.
“As far as my understanding, I’ll come back to shoot around tomorrow and see how I feel after that,” Ingram said. “If I feel good to play, I’ll play.”
Ingram did not feel good to play for most of Friday’s loss in Utah. After asking out of the game early in the first quarter, Ingram received clearance from doctors to reenter the game early in the second. Ingram only lasted a total of four minutes before the Lakers decided to sit him out in the second half.
Yet, Ingram felt good to complete all of Saturday’s practice without feeling any additional soreness. He also provided a positive report on his ability to run up and down the court and make hard cuts.
“If the trainers and doctors tell you he’s fine, you’ll play him,” Walton said. “When he’s out there and limping around, it goes back on me to take him oiut of the game. If he’s cleared, there’sno reason to hold him out.”
The Lakers no longer plan to hold out backup guard Jose Calderon, who will is expected to return for Sunday’s game against the Thunder after missing the previous two contests because of a slight strain in his left calf. Despite participating in Thursday’s practice and Friday’s morning shootaround, the Lakers wanted to keep Calderon out until he completed a full-contact practice.
Walton said he will stay flexible on Calderon’s workload depending on what happens in the game, though he added he won’t play 30 minutes.
“I don’t expect to play a 1,000 minutes,” Calderon joked. “Whatever he needs. We’ve been practicing long and hard. I’m ready for whatever it takes. Whatever he needs, I’ll be ready to do what I need to do out there and help out the team.”
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