UPDATE: The Lakers have officially ruled D’Angelo Russell out (tailbone contusion) for Wednesday’s matchup versus the Heat. Russell is joining Gabe Vincent (left knee surgery) and Rui Hachimura (left calf strain) as players unavailable to play for the Lakers.
Per the Lakers: D’Angelo Russell (tailbone contusion) has been downgraded to OUT for tonight’s game vs. Miami.— Edwin Garcia (@ECreates88) January 3, 2024
Original story follows
Just as the Lakers were heading in the right direction health-wise, another injury happened to a player in the rotation.
Rui Hachimura exited the game early against the Pelicans and Ham expressed a “high level” of concern postgame regarding the injury to Hachimura. It appears those fears were valid as he will be missing the first game of 2024 due to a left calf strain.
Calf injuries are common in the NBA and problematic due to the unknown time they take to recover from. Basketball is a highly intensive aerobic sport and if your calf is sensitive, playing in a professional setting can easily aggravate it.
Hachmura has had bad luck with injuries this season. He missed four games earlier in the year and recently suffered a nasal fracture and was wearing a black mask to protect the area when he returned to action.
He was just finding his footing on this team and if this setback will take him out for multiple games, he’ll have to work his way back into a rhythm whenever he returns.
The plus side for the Lakers is everyone else — sans Gabe Vincent as he remains out long-term — is likely to play, minus D’Angelo Russell, who is doubtful with a tailbone contusion. The other silver lining for Los Angeles is Miami isn’t doing much better health-wise with Jimmy Butler out and Caleb Martin and Josh Richardson labeled as doubtful on the injury report.
Darvin Ham must look towards his bench and see who can take up Hachimura’s minutes. Perhaps this means a player like Max Christie will get an opportunity to contribute more, show he deserves a shift or two and not be a nightly candidate for DNPs.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.