The last time the Los Angeles Lakers won a game, they also lost a key member of their starting lineup. D’Angelo Russell went down with multiple injuries in the win over the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 20, but after missing only three games, it appears he’s ready to return.
According to Shahan Ahmed of NBCLA.com, Russell will start against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday:
D'Angelo Russell will start and will play tonight per Luke Walton.
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) January 31, 2017
Without Russell leading the way as the team’s starting point guard, the Lakers have lost three straight games to the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Utah Jazz. All of these losses came on the road, including the historic 49-point defeat to the Mavericks following the win over the Pacers.
Along with making his return to the floor, Russell won’t be held back by any minutes restriction, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
D'Angelo Russell will start tonight against Denver without any minute restrictions.
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 31, 2017
Although Russell will be back, Julius Randle still needs a bit more time. Randle has been cleared to resume basketball activities but has been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Nuggets.
Head coach Luke Walton has yet to announce who will be starting in Randle’s place at power forward. The announcement likely won’t be made until Walton talks to the media before the game or just before tipoff at the Staples Center.
Following the matchup with the Nuggets, the Lakers will begin another long road trip playing the next seven of eight games away from Staples. The trip will start on the East Coast with a back-to-back against the Washington Wizards on Thursday and the Boston Celtics on Friday.