Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell has missed five games in a row with his current right ankle sprain, but there is reportedly hope he will be able to be back in the lineup soon.
During a Monday morning appearance on FanDuel TV, NBA insider Shams Charania reported that the Lakers are hopeful Russell’s return is imminent:
“D’Angelo Russell is clearly closer than LeBron James, I think they thought he would be back by now... It was a day-to-day injury, it was an ankle sprain, but the hope is that he’s back sooner than later.”
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said during his pregame availability on Sunday morning that Russell is making progress towards a return, and is officially “day-to-day” moving forward:
Darvin Ham said D’Angelo Russell is “day to day” and trending in the right direction. Said he’s still taking the necessary steps to get back on the court.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 5, 2023
Still, Russell’s absence against the Warriors was slightly surprising given that the Lakers appeared to get good news on his ankle on Friday.
Ahead of tip-off vs. Russell’s other former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, on Friday Ham said that his starting point guard was able to scrimmage with the roster’s deep bench players that morning, and that the medical staff would evaluate his response to that increased activity.
“We don’t want to just throw guys who are not playing in an NBA game (right) back out there,” Ham said. “We have to see how he responds to (scrimmaging), how his body responds — his ankle, specifically — and we’ll go from there. And he’s in the process of doing all that.”
As our own Dr. Rajpal Brar noted last week, sprains like the one Russell suffered can often take between 1-2 weeks to recover, Russell has now officially missed more than a full week. This coming Friday will be two weeks since his initial injury.
Russell’s next opportunities to get back on the court for the Lakers will be on Tuesday vs. the Memphis Grizzlies, or taking an additional two days off before returning next Friday against the Toronto Raptors.
This is beginning to enter broken-record territory, but for as long as Russell is out (along with LeBron James), expect Dennis Schröder and Austin Reaves to pick up the ballhandling slack, with a sprinkle of Lonnie Walker IV mixed in as well.
Cooper Halpern contributed to this developing story, which will continue to update with more information. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.