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There's a word Brett Brown always used to describe his former captain.
Joe Ingles was aloof.
"There was an aloofness to Joe, a cruisey side to Joe, when I first coached him that I would get on him hard about," Brown, a former Australian national team coach and now the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers said Monday in Salt Lake City.
There's no time for aloofness now.
With Alec Burks sidelined for the next several weeks, the Jazz need Ingles especially to be engaged and ready to fill in for the fallen shooting guard if they're to stay afloat in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Ingles says he's prepared to help fill that void.
"I've just stayed ready," the reserve swingman said.
The Jazz's depth took a major blow when Burks went down with a fractured ankle last week. But for Ingles, this is a familiar position.
Ingles was still trying to find his niche last year as an NBA rookie when Burks went down with a shoulder injury, creating an opportunity for the Aussie southpaw to prove his worth and earn a new two-year deal with the Jazz in the process.
He signed that contract last summer knowing things would be different in his sophomore season. "With AB being healthy, I was realistic that it wasn't going to be exactly the same," Ingles said.
Ingles averaged 5 points in 21 minutes per game last year, but had seen his time on the floor drop to about 12 minutes a night. Still, Ingles knew there would be opportunities ahead he just wishes he wasn't staring at another bump in playing time this season following another serious injury to Burks.
"It's not the ideal way … to get those minutes," Ingles said.
But with Burks sidelined for roughly the next six weeks even after surgery Tuesday aimed at speeding up his return to the court the Jazz again seem poised to rely more heavily on the 6-foot-8 Ingles, along with likely role increases for forwards Elijah Millsap and Chris Johnson.
It's not ideal to replace your sixth man and third-leading scorer with a cast of former D-League call ups and a waiver-wire acquisition. But for the Jazz, it's necessary right now.
"It's a 15-man roster," Johnson said. "The next guy steps up. While they're out rehabbing, getting better, it's time for us guys to step up. Us wings, we have to hold down the fort."
Ingles has been the most productive of the three. His 3-point shooting percentage has gone up from about 35 percent last year to nearly 42 percent.
"He is making shots," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "I think for all of us, especially Joe, Elijah and Chris those guys on the wings that are going to get some more minutes they've got to do that."
Brown praised Ingles' abilities as a passer and playmaker, his versatility as a wing who can play some stretch-four and his growth over the years.
"I saw him grow from someone that was very cruisey and aloof to something that hardened up and took pride in his defense," Brown said. "… Utah's lucky to have him."
And Snyder hopes the experiences gained last year will help them now.
"We had some guys that needed to step up in their own ways to be productive," Snyder said. "We just have to figure out a way and we have some guys that need to come in and compete."
"We did it last year when AB went down," Ingles said.
Now they have to do it again.
Jazz at Timberwolves
At the Target Center, Minneapolis
Tipoff • Wednesday, 6 p.m.
TV • ROOT
Radio • 1280 AM, 97.5 FM
Season series • First meeting
About the Jazz • A narrow victory over the two-win 76ers on Monday highlights some of the deficiencies of the Jazz's depth. … Derrick Favors traveled to Minnesota though he is officially listed as questionable to play after missing two straight games with back spasms. … The Jazz went 3-1 against the T-Wolves last season, with point guard Trey Burke averaging 22.3 points and 5.3 assists in those games.
About the Wolves • Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns form the core of an up-and-coming team that could be a Western Conference power sooner than later. … Have lost four straight and sit three games behind the eighth-place Jazz with a record of 11-20. … Back in the city where he began his career, 20-year veteran Kevin Garnett is starting, but playing limited minutes.