Brandon Ingram injury: Pelicans star leaves game vs. Magic after left knee bends awkwardly, MRI to come

The New Orleans Pelicans have been the hottest team in the NBA over the past two months or so, and Brandon Ingram has been a key component of that success. New Orleans entered Thursday’s contest with the Orlando Magic having won 16 of their previous 21 games. The Pelicans have climbed within striking distance of the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, and Ingram, a two-time All-Star, has provided his typical scoring with extra doses of playmaking and defense to help lift the team.

Unfortunately, on Thursday, Ingram suffered what on first glance appears to be a scary injury. The play came early in the third quarter against the Magic. Ingram was defending Jalen Suggs on the perimeter when Suggs drove to the basket and made contact. Ingram, who was moving laterally at the time, took the contact and his left knee seemed to bend at an awkward angle. He crumpled to the floor seemingly in serious pain, and he needed to be helped up as he left the game.

Pelicans coach Willie Green did not have an update on Ingram after the game other than to say that he would have an MRI to evaluate the damage. “Our prayers will be going up and hopefully we get some good news back,” Green said after the game.

Any severe injury at this point in the schedule would put Ingram in jeopardy of missing the postseason. The Pelicans have only 13 regular-season games left, and while they have risen to No. 5 in the Western Conference, they are currently only two games ahead in the loss column of the Kings, Suns and Mavericks, who are seeded sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

No team can truly sustain the loss of a player like Ingram, but New Orleans has succeeded in large part thanks to its depth lately. Trey Murphy III is more than qualified to fill in as a starter at forward, and Zion Williamson has taken on a greater ball-handling burden lately anyway. The Pelicans can hold down the fort if Ingram’s absence is brief, but they’ll need some good news out his MRI if they hope to be at full strength when the playoffs arrive.

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