It’s been 15 days since Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard D’Angelo Russell received a PRP injection in his left knee and was given an estimated minimum two weeks timetable to return. Russell has since been cleared for on-court activity (as of Tuesday) and participated in all of the non-contact parts of Thursday’s practice.
Russell told reporters on Thursday that he had already started cutting and running and that now it was all about “knocking the dust off,” before he gets into a game. Russell has been ruled out for Friday’s game against the Phoenix Suns and a return on Sunday against the New York Knicks is unlikely.
Head coach Luke Walton said Russell won’t see playing time until he either participates in a full contact practice, or at the minimum, competitive three-on-three drills. Though Russell said he does have a target goal in mind for his return, he preferred to keep that private.
Russell did, however, share that when he does make his return, he feels an obligation to make his presence known.
“I feel like when you get back out there you gotta make your presence known,” Russell said of returning from injury. “Hopefully, when I come back I can bring that energy back. Not saying, we’re dead or anything as far as energy wise, but I definitely want to take it up a notch when I get back on the floor.”
The Lakers could certainly use an extra body and fast, although Walton has made it impeccably clear that injuries are not to blame for some of their poor showings as of late.
The Lakers are currently on a four-game losing streak and will be without not only Russell, but also Nick Young (strained calf), Tarik Black (sprained ankle) and Jose Calderon (hamstring strain) on Friday. It’s not the losing, though, that bothers Russell.
“I’m not too much bothered by the losing streak,” Russell said. “Just more about if the right people stepped up when they needed to. It’s something that, I feel like it shows how good teams are when adversity sets in and that’s something we can definitely work on.”
Have those people stepped up?
“As a team I feel like we could’ve done better.”
After Sunday, the Lakers embark on a seven-game, 12-day roadtrip. Hopefully, they’ll have Russell and a couple extra bodies.