Lakers’ Brandon Ingram in good spirits as he ramps up his rehab

Not once this season has a Laker smiled as brightly at the prospect of speaking to a gaggle of reporters as Brandon Ingram did Saturday morning.

Ingram finally was getting some practice time. He had a reason to smile.

“Back smiling again,” Ingram said. “Happy to be out here, light shooting, trying to ramp it up a little bit this week.”

Ingram strained his left groin on March 1 against the Heat when Miami’s Justise Winslow collided with him and kneed him in the groin area after a whistle. Ingram has not played since then, but he hopes to practice again this week in New Orleans, which is the next time the Lakers will practice.


While some Lakers fans took exception to the play, Ingram has, at least publicly, kept a cool head about it. The day after the injury, he said he wasn’t sure whether or not the move was intentional.

On Saturday, with his spirits high, Ingram joked about it.

“Actually I should have told some of the guys to go after him {Friday} night,” he said, mischievously. “I did see him last night and he played really well last night, but I wish we could have gotten that win last night — and revenge.”

In his spare time since suffering the injury, Ingram has gotten a chance to see his team from a different perspective. He watched Friday night’s one-point loss to Miami with an eye toward what he might have done if he were in the game.

“I would have shot the ball,” Ingram said. “I would have shot the basketball. Make or miss I would have had the confidence to shoot the shot.”

It’s given him a new vantage point on some of his teammates, too.

“I watch every night. If [Julius Randle] gets the basketball, [I see] how strong he is and some of the baskets he makes going to the basket and seeing that no one can really stop him,” Ingram said. “You know exactly what he’s going to do but no one gonna stop him. Knowing how good Kyle Kuzma has been on defense lately and his individual defense. A lot of guys are just stepping up.”

He’s ramped up his work in another arena, too.


“I’m a little fashion guy,” Ingram said. “I think I need to get back to basketball. I’m doing a little overspending a little bit.”

Expectations growing for Wear

Travis Wear is in the middle of his second 10-day contract with the Lakers, and his comfort has grown with each passing day.

His growing confidence has helped spark more confidence from the Lakers coaching staff, as well as greater expectations.


“I always knew he was going to stretch the floor for us,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “I have been around him long enough to know that he was going to do that consistently, but I expect him now to make plays for us defensively, I expect him now to get rebounds for us. He has done a good job of earning that extra responsibility.”

Wear played 14 minutes Friday and scored a season-high 11 points.

“When you get your name called in the first half, first quarter, you can sense that their confidence in you is growing,” Wear said. “I definitely feel myself with the ball in my hand a little bit more. More willing to make plays and create plays and take shots and at the same time try to be one of the better defenders on the court.”

The last day of Wear’s contract will be Thursday, when the Lakers play the Pelicans in New Orleans.


Kuzma feels good

Kuzma wore a stimulating boot over his right ankle after Friday’s game, but while shooting after practice on Saturday, he didn’t seem inhibited by the ankle he sprained Tuesday.

“[He] felt good,” Walton said. “He got here on the court, got treatment. There is a little bit of swelling but not too bad. He said he feels good.”


Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli