The Lakers are once again heading toward an injury crisis, this time at the guard position. On a night when D’Angelo Russell was ruled out pregame, his replacement in the starting lineup, Max Christie, did not fare much better.
In the second quarter and after playing just 15 minutes, Christie came down on the foot of a Nets player after a fastbreak layup attempt. While he stayed in the game to shoot the free throws, he immediately subbed out after and went straight to the locker room.
During halftime, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Max Christie won't return tonight due to the right ankle sprain suffered in the 2nd Q.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 9, 2024
Christie was starting in place of D'Angelo Russell (knee soreness). That's five Lakers out, including Vanderbilt, Reddish and Vincent.
It’s a tough blow for Christie, who was seeing consistent minutes and was contributing consistently as well. Ideally, it’s an injury that won’t rule him out for any extended stretch.
As Trudell notes, the injuries are quickly adding up for the Lakers once again. While the All-Star break will provide a much-needed break, the Lakers aren’t there yet. And more importantly, they have a game on Friday night for the second night of a back-to-back, then have another back-to-back next week in their final games before the aforementioned break.
Russell’s injury does not seem long-term as he was a late scratch as is on Thursday. But it’s unclear if he’s going to be ready on Friday. And while Cam Reddish is trending toward a return, Friday likely would be too soon.
If Christie is ruled out of Thursday’s game, it seems unlikely he’ll be ready to play on Friday. This means the Lakers will be down four or five players on Friday, with all but one of those being guards.
On Thursday against the Nuggets, Taurean Prince started in the second half and the rotation was shortened. Jalen Hood-Schifino or Skylar Mays could both be options to see more minutes if the Lakers need more bodies.
To reiterate, though, the Lakers sorely need the All-Star break and a week away from the court to get healthy. That won’t come soon enough, though, and the Lakers are once again in a precarious position when it comes to injuries.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.