In the 2014-15 NBA season opener, the Los Angeles Lakers not only lost by 18 points to the Houston Rockets, but also lost their rookie Julius Randle to a fractured right tibia. After being transported to the hospital following the loss, Randle underwent surgery on Tuesday morning and is out for the season via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
Julius Randle underwent surgery this morning and is expected to make a full recovery from his broken leg. He won't return this season.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) October 29, 2014
After improving with each game in the preseason, Randle finished with only two points in 13 minutes against the Rockets. With this being an unfortunate start to a bright career, Kobe Bryant told the rookie to keep his spirits up and the team is not going to let him get down about this setback.
After suffering two consecutive season-ending injuries of his own, Kobe understands the process and will continue to mentor Randle. With Randle out for the entire season, he will have an opportunity to study the game and head into next season as a much better player.
Randle was the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and the Lakers’ highest pick since James Worthy in 1982, who also suffered the same injury his rookie season.[divide]
Lakers Julius Randle Fractures Right Tibia, Kobe’s Reaction