- Clippers big man Serge Ibaka played for the NBA G League to retain his form while recovering from back discomfort
- Ibaka shared his thoughts about the difference in the treatment of injured superstars and regular players in the NBA
- Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is impressed by the 32-year-old’s professionalism
NBA veteran Serge Ibaka is not letting ego take over as he deals with one of the most difficult challenges of his professional career.
Back-related problems have sidelined Los Angeles Clippers’ Ibaka at the moment. The veteran center could have opted to stay and wait until he’s good to go, but instead, he decided to go down to the NBA G League to stay active while recovering.
Normally, players with injuries or any discomfort would have to be rehabilitated until they are ready for action once again. However, that is not how Ibaka sees his situation as he knew he’s not getting the special treatment given to the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.
“I think a lot of players can use this example in that situation if you sit out,” Ibaka told the Los Angeles Times. “At least if you’re Kawhi [Leonard] or Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry, those kind of guys they can sit for three years and they’re going to come back, [teams are] going to give them minutes, they’re going to give them — they’re going to try to get them their confidence.”
“At least if you are one of those guys, you can stay, but if you’re not one of those guys, one of those names out there, sometimes you have to work for yourself to go get your confidence because nobody is going to give you that,” he continued.
Last season, Ibaka managed to play a total of 41 games for the Clippers. His decent 11 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game were enough to impress coach Tyronn Lue.
However, Lue said that the 32-year-old’s decision to set his ego aside and play for the minors to keep up with the changes in the league was even more impressive.
“[Ibaka] said right now the game is a little fast for him, so he wanted to go down to the [NBA] G League and just play and get reps, get his conditioning up, get his timing,” Lue told Press Telegram.
“When you got a guy who’s a 13-year vet, that’s a true professional,” the coach raved. “Just trying to do what he can to get back and help us out in any way he can, so that was good to see.”
Ibaka is expected to return to the Clippers lineup this weekend when the team faces the Dallas Mavericks at home.