The Los Angeles Lakers have suffered more than their fair share of injuries this season, with seemingly every key member of the team going down at one point or another. A particularly vicious injury bug hit in December, robbing the team of the chemistry that they showcased at the start of the season.
On Saturday afternoon against the Clippers, it looked as though more problems were heading for Lakers starters D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Russell, who missed 12 games earlier in the season due to a knee injury, collided with Clippers forward Luc Richard Mbah Moute and fell to the ground in pain, holding his knee.
A short time later, Randle stepped on the foot of teammate Nick Young while giving him a celebratory high-five and turned his ankle. Fortunately, both players were able to stay in the game and it appears that they will be fine going forward, as reported by Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
D'Angelo Russell said he's fine, just hit knees, not an issue. Randle said same about an ankle tweak
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) January 14, 2017
The Lakers, who currently have the sixth-worst record in the league, simply cannot afford anymore injuries to key players. They are already missing reserve power forward Larry Nance Jr, who is out with a bone bruise and is sorely missed.
Russell and Randle have been bright spots for the Lakers this season, showing real potential even as the team as a whole has struggled. To lose them now would have only compounded the Lakers’ problems, and given head coach Luke Walton a difficult challenge as he attempts to stay competitive.
While the Lakers may not be winning much right now, they do still need to focus their attention on developing the team’s young players, and that can only happen if they stay on the floor.