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Utah Jazz

'Headband Joe' Ingles returns as Utah Jazz ramp up preparations for season restart in Orlando

In November 2018, the legend of 'Headband Joe' Ingles was born after he suffered a cut above his eye in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies and as the Utah Jazz continue their preparations for the season restart in Orlando, there's a chance he might be here to stay.

During his media availability today, rocking a navy headband, Ingles jokingly told reporters "My hair's been so luxurious and long that I was just trying to keep it out of my eyes today."

He started wearing the headband again as a joke during workouts in Utah, but didn't rule out making it an Orlando staple.

"One day in the facility I was wearing it to be funny because Mike had his on and me and Mike [Conley Jr.] were shooting on the same day," Ingles said.

"Dennis Lindsey [Jazz GM] was standing in his thing that overlooks the practice facility and started yelling stuff at me about how bad it looked so I was like well, I'm going to just keep wearing it if Dennis hates it that much. The chance I play in it is very small. But, if I play with it in a scrimmage and I play a good game I can promise you it'll be here to stay."

The Jazz, who currently sit in the fourth seed in the Western Conference are ready to get back on court this week, with three scrimmage games scheduled and Ingles says these games will play an important role in helping the team implement new wrinkles to their offence that they've been working on in practice.

"The most obvious one is just getting out there and playing. Getting game time, getting through our stuff - the new stuff we put in, getting on the same page with the old stuff and how we were already playing," Ingles said.

"For us, we've played a lot here within the practices, but it's always different when you're playing against your team, against the guys you play with every day. It would be nice to play someone different. … It'll be good for us to get out there against a different group of guys, get through some stuff. Obviously, you find out what's working, what's not."

MORE: Can Donovan Mitchell bounce back from an underwhelming 2019 post-season?

The Jazz will be without their second-leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic in Orlando after the swingman underwent season-ending surgery on his right wrist and while Ingles is expected to soak up a lot of those minutes on the wing and the offensive responsibility that comes with it, he says the Jazz have the pieces to fill the void and pick up the tempo.

"We try to play that way in practice a bit to get up and push the ball, obviously with the four guards that we're going to have out there the majority of the time with Rudy [Gobert] or Tony [Bradley] or whoever. Everyone can handle, everyone can push, everyone can rebound the ball so point guards to 'four men', we've got a pretty versatile group in those guard spots," Ingles said.

"I think for us, pushing the ball and then shooting early threes - good threes, but early threes - can be something that we can be really effective in, because like I said, with those lineups, we've got pretty consistent shooters throughout.

"I don't know how many times this season prior to this [hiatus] that we were probably all on the same page in the same game and all shooting well. I think if we can get to a point where we're in such a good flow and everything's free-flowing and we're all shooting well, I think we can be a really dangerous team playing like that."

"So I think it's on everyone, I've said this a lot, with Bojan out, it's not on me or Mike or one person, it's on all of us to take a bit of the load he was carrying and all bring it from this time on."

The Jazz will play their first scrimmage against the Phoenix Suns (July 24), followed by the Miami Heat (July 26), and Brooklyn Nets (July 28), before playing their first seeding game of the restart against the New Orleans Pelicans (July 31).

The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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