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Ingles better for missing Oly qualifiers

  • Ingles better for missing Oly qualifiers

    Joe Ingles feels better for having been rested from the Boomers' 2015 Oceania Olympic qualifiers.

Joe Ingles hated having to watch the Boomers qualify for the Olympics from the stands last year.

But in hindsight, the NBA player feels doctors at both the Utah Jazz and Australian team made the right call to sit him out of the Oceania series against New Zealand.

A rough rookie year with a few niggles and a "pretty bad" knee complaint had taken its toll on the forward.

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"I was fine with the decision until the training camp started and I had to watch - that was frustrating," he told AAP.

"But I just needed the break ... and I feel a lot better now for it."

Ingles has been included in a preliminary 26-man squad for the Rio Games, which will be reduced to 16 ahead of the team's first and only selection camp in July.

The 28-year-old has enjoyed 61 games off the bench for the Jazz so far this season.

He is glad to be back in the mix alongside six other NBA stars, and a broader group of European-based and NBL players - including the 12 that played in the Oceania qualifiers.

"Going into Rio we've got a really good core that's been together since Beijing," he said.

"We've talked about it non-stop, and we keep talking about it.

"The best thing about it is how close everybody is."

Ingles said the trip to San Diego with Dante Exum, Matthew Dellavedova, Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Cameron Bairstow, Aron Baynes and their partners during the NBA All-Star break was "unbelievable".

They spent about six days relaxing and getting to know each other, with little talk about the Boomers.

"We got to sit on the beach, have a couple of barbecues and just relax," he said.

"And I think it's going to really benefit us coming into this next campaign.

"The next time we can really catch up will be camp, so I think doing what we did in San Diego was really good just to keep that bond and keep it nice and tight."

Ingles said the team had the belief that 2016 was possibly their best chance to win a first Olympic medal - as long as everyone stays healthy.

His teammate Exum is among the uncertainties, the 20-year-old yet to return for the Jazz after knee surgery in September.

"He's progressing well," added Ingles.

"He looks good, he's put on some size which is good for him ... and he's mentally in a really good spot."

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis is receiving regular updates on Exum's recovery, with further information expected after an appointment with his surgeon on Tuesday.

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