Incoming rookie Julius Randle may be undergoing surgery on his right foot, which could sideline the Kentucky forward for six-to-eight weeks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The timetable pushes him outside of being able to participate during either Las Vegas or Orlando Summer League in July, but the recovery is anticipated to allow Randle to return by the start of training camp.
Randle has widely been projected to the Lakers in mock drafts since the order was decided. Los Angeles drafting the NBA-ready prospect with the seventh-overall pick is a plausible outcome, but a foot injury could be a red flag. There's pressure for the team to draft the "right" player with their first top-10 pick since the 2005 NBA Draft, but Wojnarowski writes this injury is unlikely to affect Randle's draft position:
His draft stock isn't expected to be impacted because of the surgery, league executives said. Several executives said they considered this a minor issue
"He could drop some in the first round, but I don't think it will be because of the injury," one Eastern Conference official said.
This story takes a strange turn, however, with Randle taking to Twitter to deny Wojnarowski's report:
No disrespect but check with the actual source next time before you put something like that out there @WojYahooNBA— Julius Randle (@J30_RANDLE) June 12, 2014
So Randle may need "minor" surgery, as Wojnarowski puts it, or he may not. An injury to Randle could significantly impact how the first seven teams draft, and even if it doesn't change his position on the Lakers' big board, it could affect the six teams ahead.
The draft is June 26, leaving plenty of time for this story to clear up. In the meantime, check out our draft profile on the ready to go prospect, Julius Randle.