Brandon Ingram’s Blood Clot Is A Game Changer

Blood clots are serious in a way an ACL rupture or an Achilles tear is not. Blood clots are life threatening as the clot can travel to the heart or brain withing minutes, causing instant death. Diagnosed with a blood clot, as Brandon Ingram recently was, means a lifestyle change for at least six months. A blood thinner is prescribed. Diet has to be changed as certain foods are off limits. Physical activity is ruled out with blood so thin a cut has the possibility of hemorrhage. But thin blood serves a purpose. It allows the clot to dissolve over time. A second clot, however, is career ending. Chris Bosh was a victim of clots in back to back years. It ended his career. It’s premature to draw conclusion about Brandon Ingram other than a serious situation has befallen him.

Ingram struggled early playing with LeBron James but after February 1st he averaged 22 points on 52% shooting and 41% from three. 11 games is a small sample size. Once Ingram realized he could be moved for Anthony Davis, his aggression, confidence and overall impact merged at a confident middle point. This was the Brandon Ingram everyone expected to see in year three, whether the Lakers made the playoffs or not.

One of the Brandon Ingram issues has always been health. He played 52 games this year and 59 games last year. Can he withstand the rigors of a physical NBA season?

The blood clot puts a lot in jeopardy.

Any trade package the Lakers may have wanted to put Ingram in, or any package a team may have requested, is now on the shelf. Ingram has to wait out his current treatment before he can begin any kind of summer work and by then it will be late summer. Laker fans hoping that Ingram will get stronger this summer- that has to be tabled for now. His immediate concern is the blood clot.

Most blood clots are discovered in the calf region. Mine was. Three years after the first clot another clot was discovered. I was told a third clot would mean blood thinners for the rest of my life. Brandon Ingram’s clot was in his shoulder which is rare. The best case scenario is that he never experiences another clot. Afterall, he is young. The worst case scenario is a page out of the Chris Bosh book.

Bosh didn’t expect to have another clot. He tried not to get one but there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. Once you’re symptomatic, it is too late. Bosh couldn’t get a team doctor to clear him to play because of the dangers of playing and being on a blood thinner. It was a premature end to a career that hit its high notes when he was paired with LeBron James.

In practical terms, Brandon Ingram being left out of trade talks because teams aren’t going to want to take on a damaged player, and he wouldn’t pass the physical anyway, means that the package the Lakers will offer will include Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball and a bunch of pieces for Anthony Davis. The Celtics will counter with Jayson Tatum and others. The Celtics advantage is that Tatum, and whoever they throw in, like Jaylen Brown, have been in the playoffs. They have produced in meaningful games. Kuzma and Ball have not. Plus Ball, like Ingram, cannot stay healthy. He has missed 40% of his young career.

Of the Lakers young talent, Brandon Ingram is the one coveted. He is long and versatile. He can handle the ball, see the open man, score from the midrange and he connected on 42% of his jump shots this season. In the 4th quarter, he made 40% of his threes. His finishes at the rim, as he has learned how to use footwork against shot blockers, has exponentially improved. Consistent aggression has always been his weakness and that has gotten better too.

But all of it is on hold, the Brandon Ingram evolution. There is nothing he can do but wait out the treatment and hope this is an anomaly, similar to this disappointing Lakers season. History has proven, it can get worse.