At first Josh Hart played coy.
“I don’t even know; I wish I did,” he said when asked which player he collided with to fracture his hand last week.
Someone asked if he’d watched video from practice to reveal the culprit.
“I didn’t even look at the video,” he said. “I’m not, I mean, I don’t even think there was a video because we were on the road. I don’t even know.”
He didn’t pause, before adding: “Gary Payton.”
Hart held a lighthearted press conference Monday morning, speaking for the first time since fracturing his hand — apparently in a collision with Payton, the son of the former NBA star, who’s on a two-way contract with the South Bay Lakers. Hart had surgery Friday to repair the fracture on the fourth metacarpal bone of his left hand. He wore what appeared to be a hybrid between a cast and a brace, and took some shots on the Lakers’ practice court.
“I’m just trying not to think too much of it,” Hart said before Monday’s game. “It’s not a serious injury; it could’ve been worse. I just try to look to the bright side of things. Right now we’re on a five-game winning streak. I’m looking at that, watching how these guys are playing. That’s always something great to see. Obviously it was a downer at first, but that’s part of the game.”
Hart is facing about a four-to-six-week recovery.
The timing is what stung most for Hart. The rookie had started 10 games in a row when it happened, part of the Lakers’ best lineup when they were without point guard Lonzo Ball. During that time Hart, a 6-foot-5 guard, reached double figures in points and rebounds four times.
“Last month and a half have been more comfortable and Luke [Walton] gave me more minutes, gave me a little bit of a bigger role, so that was nice,” Hart said. “It’s a bummer that it happened now, but like I said, just a part of the game.”
Ingram out at least a week
Brandon Ingram’s MRI revealed a strain in his left groin. The Lakers will re-evaluate him in about a week.
That means Ingram is likely to miss at least the three games this week — home games against Portland and Orlando and a game in Denver. Ingram hopes to be back by Sunday’s home game against Cleveland.
He’s averaging 17 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists — all above his season averages — during the winning streak.
“I pretty much knew what it was exactly when it happened,” Ingram said. “I just didn’t know my timetable of how long I’d be out or if I’d have to be out at all. But like I said I’m happy it’s not that serious, where I can get back on the floor with my teammates and continue the good play that we’ve been doing.”
Championship vs. Oscar
After Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for best animated short Sunday, he told reporters backstage that it felt better than winning a championship.
“He said that?” Walton said. “With a straight face?”
Walton was asked which he’d prefer and answered before the question was even finished.
“Championship,” Walton said. “In fact, I’m very confident I’ll never win an Oscar.”