Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram underwent thoracic outlet decompression surgery on his right arm Saturday, and sources told ESPN he is expected to make a full recovery in three to four months,
Ingram was shut down last week after a medical examination of his sore right shoulder revealed deep venous thrombosis — a condition caused by a blood clot. That clot was removed and Saturday’s procedure assured better flow in Ingram’s upper body.
“This couldn’t have been a better set of facts for a clot,” Ingram’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN.
With uncertainty surrounding Ingram’s condition in the past week, former NBA players who were forced to retire because of blood clot issues — namely Chris Bosh and Mirza Teletovic — were often cited as comparable cases to Ingram. However, Ingram, the Lakers’ No. 2 pick out of Duke in 2016, had a condition that was linked to the makeup of his body, not the makeup of his blood.
“It’s a night-and-day difference between a hematological issue, or a blood issue however you want to put it, and a structural issue,” Schwartz told ESPN. “This was not related to his blood producing something that would cause blood clots. This was purely structural.”
Ingram’s procedure was performed by Dr. Hugh Gelabert at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, according to the team. It is a relatively common procedure for professional athletes who make repeated arm motions over their head such as baseball players, golfers and swimmers.
Part of the normal practice with thoracic outlet decompression surgery requires the patient to be on blood thinners for one to two months, but not need to use them after that. Ingram could be back on the court as soon as eight weeks, sources told ESPN, with a return to full basketball activities taking an additional four to eight weeks beyond that.
He is expected to rejoin the Lakers (31-38) to be around the team sometime before the regular season finishes.
Ingram was playing the best basketball of his three-year career prior to his injury. The 6-foot-9, 190-pound forward averaged a career-best 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season and especially thrived since the All-Star break. He averaged 27.8 points on 57 percent shooting in his six games after the All-Star break, according to ESPN Stats & Information, before the shoulder issue came up.
“He’s in good spirits and Brandon’s going to make a full recovery,” Schwartz told ESPN.