UPDATE 11/22/16 (5:31 PM PT): In addition to missing Tuesday night’s game against the Thunder, Russell will also miss Wednesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
Lakers say that D’Angelo Russell (sore left knee) won’t play tonight or tomorrow night at GSW.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) November 23, 2016
For the last few days Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell has been bothered with a sore knee. He sat out last Friday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs and though he returned on Sunday against Chicago, he was admittedly a little cautious in the game.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton called out his point guard, telling him to sit out if he can’t be his normal, aggressive self. Apparently Russell feels he is still too bothered as he will sit out Tuesday’s game against the Thunder according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:
Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell will sit out tonight's game against Oklahoma City with knee soreness, league sources tell @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) November 23, 2016
Hopefully this isn’t a bad sign for Russell and the Lakers as the last thing they can afford is for Russell’s knee issues to be more serious than initially believed and he has to sit out for an extended period of time. Walton is right in his assessment that if Russell is on the court he needs to be aggressive as him not being himself hurts the Lakers overall.
With Russell out, Walton has multiple options to turn to. Against the Spurs he chose to go with veteran Jose Calderon as he didn’t want to mess with the Lakers’ vaunted bench lineup. However, with a match-up against the very fast, athletic backcourt of Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo, it is possible that Walton could instead choose to go with someone like Jordan Clarkson.
This isn’t exactly the best week for Russell to need extended time off as the Lakers must turn right around for back-to-back matchups against the Golden State Warriors tomorrow and Friday, followed by a Sunday night showdown against the Atlanta Hawks.