Coming out of the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers knew they needed to go on a winning streak to keep their playoff hopes alive and they did just that as they blew out the Golden State Warriors.
Despite the roster being rebuilt at the trade deadline, the new pieces have fit together perfectly around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who surprisingly had quiet nights against the shorthanded Warriors. The depth on the Lakers is night and day compared to what it was previously and they were able to handle Golden State without the two stars being themselves.
However, it wasn’t a completely flawless night for Los Angeles as they saw D’Angelo Russell sprain his ankle in the first quarter after stepping on Donte DiVincenzo’s foot. Russell stayed in the game briefly before coming out and he was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the night.
Injuries have ravaged the Lakers the past few seasons, so there was plenty of initial anxiousness concerning Russell’s health. However, it seems Russell’s ankle sprain isn’t considered serious as X-rays came back negative and no MRI is needed, the team announced.
Russell was asked after the game if he is concerned that he could miss time and gave a resounding answer.
“No,” Russell said. “Players roll their ankles all the time. I don’t do it often so it’s obviously new, but it is what it is.”
Russell did admit that the ankle was giving him some trouble though, which makes sense considering he was ruled out for the night.
“Sore. Any other ankle injury the same thing. Sore, try and bounce back tomorrow and see how it feels. Get some meds in me, some rehab. Be alright.”
It’s definitely a sigh of relief for the Lakers, who need Russell healthy if they want to make a postseason push. The guard didn’t look like he sprained his ankle too badly when the injury occurred, so perhaps the team was being more cautious considering what is at stake.
The good news is that the purple and gold didn’t really need Russell against Golden State as they cruised for most of the night. Although the Warriors went into halftime only down three, the Lakers picked things up in the second half thanks to the bench and they would move to 3-1 since the deadline.
Los Angeles doesn’t play again until Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, so that gives Russell a few days to rest and recover. Hopefully he’s able to suit up against a formidable Mavericks team, but if he’s unable to go expect bigger roles for players like Dennis Schroder and Austin Reaves.
Magic Johnson believes D’Angelo Russell has grown and matured since first stint with Lakers
Having Russell back has been a joy for Lakers fans as he’s been the perfect fit next to James and Davis. More impressively, he’s really grown as a person off the floor which Magic Johnson gave him credit for.
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