Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles, who has been one the NBA’s most durable players for the last seven years, was forced to do something he hadn’t done since December of 2016 on Friday — miss a basketball game. The 33-year-old was a late scratch from his team’s most recent contest, a road bout with the Milwaukee Bucks, which brought an end to the association’s longest iron-man streak.
As relayed by ESPN, Ingles had taken the court for his team in 384 consecutive regular-season games before a sore right Achilles forced him out in Milwaukee. Counting postseason play, the sharpshooting Aussie had made 418 straight appearances for Utah.
“I know he’d be playing if he could,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said before tip-off. “There’s been a lot of times that he’s played through pain and probably an injury that he hasn’t told us about at times. But, obviously, you miss a player in the short run like Joe, but he’ll be back.”
The significance of Ingles’ DNP wasn’t lost on Snyder, who had directed his squad to a 4-4 record entering its battle with the Bucks.
“It makes you pause for a second and you reflect on what a streak of consecutive games like that means and what it says about Joe, his toughness, his commitment, what type of teammate he is. You pause and reflect for a second and you understand why you respect him.”
As unlikely as Ingles’ streak was in an era where teams regularly rest players in the interest of load management, the fact that he is performing at a high level in the NBA may be the true oddity.
After beginning his professional career in his native Australia, the Adelaide native spent most of his 20s honing his craft in places like Spain and Israel. It wasn’t until age 27 that he got the call to join the Los Angeles Clippers for training camp. His tenure with that team was brief, as he was waived before the start of the 2014-15 season. However, he ultimately caught on in Utah, where he surged up the depth charts and blossomed into one of the association’s best deep threats.
Per Basketball-Reference, Ingles is averaging 10 points, four rebounds and better than three assists per contest this season. Although his three-point percentage has dipped slightly to 35 percent in 2020-21, his career mark of 40.6 percent currently ranks in the top 10 among active players and 28th all-time.
With Ingles’ streak coming to an end, the league’s new reigning iron man is the Sacramento Kings’ Cory Joseph, who has played in 274 straight games.