Tuesday was a day chock full of good news for the Lakers and it rounded out in the same style. After picking up another big victory over the Grizzlies on a night when they retired Pau Gasol’s jersey, head coach Darvin Ham revealed postgame that the team is aiming for Friday to have guard D’Angelo Russell return from his sprained ankle.
Russell has missed the last six games for the Lakers.
Ham said the Lakers are targeting Friday for D'Lo's return, but will go through some reps with a "play group" tomorrow before he is fully cleared to return— Cooper Halpern (@CooperHalpern) March 8, 2023
D’Lo nearly returned to the court for Tuesday’s contest against the Grizzlies. He was listed as questionable heading into the contest, an improvement in itself. Russell took part in a pregame warm-up to test whether he’d be able to play before eventually being ruled out.
That was an indicator of how close he was to his return. In his absence, the Lakers are 4-2 after beating Memphis. However, Russell was the biggest acquisition at the deadline, and their winning run has been fueled by some superhuman efforts from Anthony Davis.
Russell returning could lessen the load on Davis and help the Lakers continue their winning ways in a more sustainable fashion. In the four games D’Lo has played as a Laker, he’s averaging 13.5 points on 35.3% shooting from the 3-point line, while adding five assists per contest as well.
If he does return, it’ll be to a team that has very much found its winning ways with and without him. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have moved into the play-in spots, albeit in a super-crowded Western Conference playoff race. His return could serve as a further boost to get them above the play-in spots and fully secured into the playoffs.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.