D’Angelo Russell was the latest Laker to suffer an injury, exiting Thursday’s win against the Warriors with a right ankle sprain, proving not even newly-acquired Lakers are immune to the inescapable fate of suffering an injury at some point this season.
Russell suffered the injury during the first quarter of the game, and was quickly declared out for the rest of the night. After the game, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said Russell would be reevaluated on Friday, and as promised, he provided an update the next day, saying the point guard would likely miss Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
He is being listed on the team’s official injury report as “doubtful.”
Darvin Ham on D’Angelo Russell: “I doubt that he’ll be able to play Sunday” at Dallas.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 24, 2023
Lakers then have back-to-back Tues and Weds at Memphis and OKC.
Russell sustained a sprained ankle Thurs vs. GS. There’s no structural damage, Ham said, and Russell will be day-to-day.
Ham added that "there’s no structural damage" in Russell's right ankle and, "it’s going to be a day-by-day thing." Russell will join the Lakers' on their road trip, per the team. They will put out a status update on him on Saturday afternoon. https://t.co/tGsP92mceP— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 24, 2023
It was a rather freak injury — which unfortunately seems to be a recurring trend for the Lakers — that led to Russell eventually exiting the game. As he was inbounding the ball, Russell stepped on the foot of Donte DiVincenzo, who had just scored on the player before his momentum carried him out-of-bounds.
The optimistic outlook is that Russell did continue playing after suffering the injury, staying on the court for a little more than a minute before coming out. But after exiting, Russell went to the locker room and was eventually ruled out.
Russell spoke to reporters about how his ankle was feeling and what his expectations were for how long he may be out.
"Sore. Any other ankle injury the same thing. Sore, try and bounce back tomorrow and see how it feels. Get some meds in me, some rehab. Be alright." - D'Angelo Russell on his ankle. Said it was "wrong place, wrong time."— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 24, 2023
D’Angelo Russell described his ankle as “sore,” but believes he’ll “be all right” after getting treatment tomorrow.— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 24, 2023
The good news is this doesn’t appear to be a serious malady, which is a small crisis dodged for the Lakers as they look to push for the playoffs, but with a compacted schedule in the coming week and nearly every game must-win as they claw for a postseason berth, the Lakers will need Russell back as soon as possible.
As was noted above, if he misses Sunday’s game vs. Dallas, his next chances to return would be against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday or the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. For as long as he’s out, expect to see more minutes from Austin Reaves and Dennis Schröder, the latter of whom Ham started in the second half on Thursday after Russell’s injury.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.