Lakers Injury Update: D’Angelo Russell Remains ‘Day-To-Day’ Moving Forward But ‘Trending In Right Direction’
D'Angelo Russell, Darvin Ham, Lakers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries have been a major issue for the Los Angeles Lakers for much of the last three seasons and this year has been no different. Just when the team had finally gotten to full strength, point guard D’Angelo Russell went down with a sprained ankle on a completely fluky play.

While stepping back to take the ball out, Russell stepped on the foot of Golden State Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo. Russell would not return to the game and has not stepped on the court since, missing his fifth consecutive game on Sunday against the Warriors.

But head coach Darvin Ham believes the Lakers point guard will be back on the court soon. “He’s trending in the right direction. He’s day-to-day,” Ham said prior to Sundays’ home game against Golden State.

“Again, there’s certain steps we take in terms of getting someone back on the game floor. It’s just not ‘OK, he’s made this many threes in an individual workout so let’s throw him out there.’ There’s steps we take, so he’s definitely trending in the right direction.”

Ham and the Lakers obviously do not want to rush Russell back and risk further damage to the ankle or have him limited when he is on the court. When he does return, the Lakers need Russell to be his normal self in order for the team to be successful so they will take their time and put him through different workouts in order to ensure he is truly ready to be on the floor.

But with the Lakers in the position they are in, desperately fighting for their playoff lives, it is disappointing to see Russell’s injury keep him out for this long. His absence is further exacerbated by superstar LeBron James being out for at least the next couple of weeks.

With LeBron out, everyone must step up and pick up the slack as both a scorer and a playmaker and Russell would be the primary player the Lakers would turn to. When he is back on the court, the Lakers will need him at his best to put some wins together and get themselves in the playoffs where they want to be.

Ham says rest of Lakers need to step up in James’ absence

With James set to miss at least the next three weeks with a tendon injury in his foot, the Lakers’ playoff hopes took another hit. But the team as a whole would seem to be better equipped to handle his absence than they were earlier in the season.

There is nothing the Lakers can do to bring him back any quicker and head coach Darvin Ham says the rest of the team will just have to step up.

“His situation is what it is. We released a statement [on his status] and we stand by it, there are not other updates. His situation is what it is and if it wasn’t for him and his play, we wouldn’t be this close to have a chance to improve going forward. So just want him to take his time and be in line with the medical staff and do what he needs to do to get back as quickly as possible. So the guys know that everybody needs to step up, all of us.”

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