The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into an extremely difficult stretch of the season, and things just got that much tougher. Shortly before the Lakers were set to face off against the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers revealed that guard D’Angelo Russell would be forced to miss the game due to a sore knee:
D'Angelo Russell (sore knee) will not play tonight.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 19, 2016
Obviously, this is a major blow to Los Angeles and their hopes of upsetting the Spurs. With Russell out, head coach Luke Walton will have to look elsewhere for a starting point guard and floor leader. Russell, who leads the team in both usage rate and touches, will be sorely missed against an always-strong opponent in San Antonio.
It appears that the injury occurred at some point during practice, as Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reported via Twitter that he had his knee wrapped up after yesterday’s practice:
D'Angelo Russell is not playing tonight. His knee is sore. He had it wrapped after yesterday's practice.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 19, 2016
Hopefully, the injury is nothing serious. NBA players can develop a wide variety of aches and pains, and in an ideal scenario, the Lakers are just looking to be careful with their promising young guard. Mark Medina of the Orange County Register is reporting that Russell will be evaluated by a doctor soon:
Russell will be examined by a doctor later today. There should be more information later
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 19, 2016
Without Russell, the Lakers could turn to veteran point guards Jose Calderon or Marcelo Huertas to pick up the slack. Neither has seen much playing time recently, but both are solid veterans with the ability to run an offense. If Walton decides to go a less conventional route, he could slide rookie Brandon Ingram into the starting lineup, as Ingram has essentially been the point guard for the second unit for much of the season.
Backup shooting guards Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams both also have some experience playing point guard. Regardless of which option Walton chooses, Russell will certainly be missed.