Things were going too well for the Lakers in recent games which meant an injury was due. After sitting out the second half of Sunday’s win over Houston, D’Angelo Russell was initially listed as probable for Tuesday’s game against the Jazz.
However, on Wednesday morning, D’Lo was downgraded to questionable with left foot soreness, before ultimately being ruled out just over an hour before the game:
Ham on D’Angelo Russell, who’s dealing with the left foot soreness: “Saw an opportunity to give it an extra day’s rest.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 4, 2023
He cited the B2B against the Clippers as a factor. His status for tomorrow, as well as that of LeBron and AD, will be considered after tonight’s game.
Darvin Ham says D’Angelo Russell will be held out for precautionary reasons with his sore left foot. Ham says Russell has dealt with the foot for more than a year and it was “bad timing” with the discomfort flaring up. Ham said the team would determine Russell’s status moving…— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 4, 2023
At halftime of Sunday’s game against the Rockets, Russell was ruled out with left foot soreness, a new injury from the handful he’s suffered from.
Injury update: D'Angelo Russell is out for the rest of the game tonight due to left foot soreness.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 3, 2023
After the game, head coach Darvin Ham said the move was precautionary and that Russell could have played if he was needed. Given the caliber of the opponent and that the Lakers won handily without him, it seems like a calculated risk.
Darvin Ham on the decision to hold Russell out for the second half with the left foot issue: “It was definitely precautionary. He could have continued if we needed him. Didn’t want to risk it.”— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 3, 2023
As much fun as Russell’s return to Los Angeles has been, it’s been on marred by injuries. He twisted his ankle on a Warriors player’s foot and was out for six games. Then, right hip soreness ruled him out for a pair of contests after seven games back.
But after D’Lo returned on Wednesday in Chicago, the Lakers looked incredible for 2.5 games. That led up to the Houston game where, in the first half, Russell had six points, four assists, and three rebounds on 2-4 shooting in 15 minutes.
The Lakers wrap up their road trip on Tuesday against the Jazz before returning to Los Angeles for a “road” game against the Clippers on Wednesday. It’s the final week of the season, so every game matters as the Lakers look to move up the playoff standings.
With Russell, the Lakers’ starting lineup has been excellent. Coming into Sunday’s game, the Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Anthony Davis lineup had a net rating of +13.7 in 28 minutes together across three games.
It is fitting that the final week of the season will include some injury drama as that has been the one constant throughout the season for the Lakers. Here’s to crossed fingers that this isn’t a serious injury that costs Russell extended time.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.