The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves in a hard-fought game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night, but in the midst of the contest, lost one of their most important backcourt players. Late in the third quarter, D’Angelo Russell took a charge, but he never returned to the game after the play.
The Lakers would announce that Russell suffered a tailbone contusion which kept him out for the fourth quarter of what would wind up being a two-point Lakers’ loss. Of course the discussion after the game will be focused on the controversial ruling of what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer from LeBron James being ruled a two, but the health of Russell is something to keep an eye on as well.
Injuries have been an issue for the Lakers all season long, but aside from Gabe Vincent, the team is relatively healthy. Vincent’s absence leaves Russell as the team’s lone true point guard, but his injury greatly affects the team as well, especially with the Lakers traveling to the New Orleans Pelicans for a game on Sunday as well.
Facing a back-to-back, and with something as sensitive as a back and tailbone issue, it wouldn’t be a shock if Russell were to sit out against the Pelicans, which puts a lot more pressure on LeBron James and Austin Reaves as the team’s primary creators.
Russell has been solid since moving to a reserve role for the Lakers and is one of the team’s best perimeter shooters this season. He has also been one of the team’s healthiest players with only Reaves playing more games for the purple and gold this season.
The Lakers do have a couple of days off following their contest Sunday night against the Pelicans, so assuming this is something minor, the Lakers should at the least have Russell back in uniform in the next contest.
Austin Reaves calls D’Angelo Russell great addition to Lakers’ second unit
The Lakers have been trying to figure out the right rotations and lineups and for the time being D’Angelo Russell is coming off the bench where he finds himself next to Austin Reaves once again. And Reaves believes the guard is an excellent addition to the reserves.
“For me, I’ve been coming off the bench so it’s not really anything new to me. But trying to implement such a good player like DLo to the second unit is good for us,” Reaves said. “It’s an opportunity for us to have a great opportunity to really win those bench points, all of the statistical categories and give those guys opportunities to breathe, Bron and AD.
“But we played alongside each other last year and went to the Western Conference Finals and felt like we competed at a high level and hopefully we can continue to do that. At the end of the day, the main thing is to win basketball games. That’s all that anybody really cares about.”
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