The Los Angeles Lakers entered Friday’s contest against the Indiana Pacers mired in a five-game losing streak and less than full-strength. Luol Deng missed a second consecutive game due to a sprained right wrist.
Los Angeles did, however, receive some positive news prior to tip-off, as Larry Nance Jr. was cleared to complete a full practice and is expected to play on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. While Nance is on the verge of returning, the Lakers have suffered from multiple injuries this season, which invariably has impacted on-court results.
The injury bug struck again early in Friday’s game, as Russell slipped on Julius Randle’s foot and hit his right knee against the court. The second-year point guard remained down for several minutes before walking off under his own power and heading to the Lakers locker room.
According to Mike Trudell, Russell suffered an MCL sprain and his availability for the remainder of the game against the Pacers was to be determined at halftime:
D’Angelo Russell has a mild
MCL sprain in his right knee. Re-evaluated at halftime to see if he can return.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 21, 2017
Further examination of Russell’s knee revealed a calf strain, and he will undergo an MRI, per ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
Lakers say D’Angelo Russell also has a strained right calf and will not return to tonight’s game. He is scheduled to have an MRI tomorrow.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) January 21, 2017
Russell previously missed 11 games this season after receiving a PRP injection to treat a sore left knee. He entered Friday’s contest averaging 14.8 points and 3.8 assists per game.
Jose Calderon was immediately inserted into the game, and presumably will be called upon to fill the void should Russell miss extended time. Lakers head coach Luke Walton could also elect to put the ball in Brandon Ingram’s hands with more frequency, which has been the case at various points thus far.
During the second quarter of Friday’s game, Nick Young was removed due to a hyperextended left knee, though managed to return in the second half.