The Los Angeles Lakers are currently in the midst of one of their longest in-season breaks, as after Thursday night’s loss to the Utah Jazz they have four days off to regroup before they host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.
The break comes at a much-needed time, as not only have the Lakers lost eight of their last night games, but they are also currently dealing with a couple of key injuries.
Among them is second-year point guard D’Angelo Russell, who is dealing with a bone bruise, strained calf muscle, and sprained MCL suffered in the win over the Indiana Pacers a little over a week ago. Russell has reportedly responded well to the treatment, and could be ready to go by Tuesday as he is listed as questionable for the game.
Another key injury the team is currently dealing with is with Julius Randle, as the team’s starting power forward missed Thursday’s game with a viral infection that he later learned was pneumonia.
Randle is also listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game, as head coach Luke Walton said his virus is no longer contagious, via Joey Ramirez of NBA.com:
“He said the training staff said he’s not contagious,” Walton said. “I won’t touch him, but he says he’s not contagious.”
A win for the Lakers over the Nuggets could be crucial, as after the game they will play seven of their next eight on the road, with the first five coming against Eastern Conference opponents.
The recent stretch of poor play has the Lakers at the bottom of the Western Conference standings at 16-34. It is no secret that the team has been better with both Russell and Randle on the floor this season, though, so if both of them can return this upcoming week that could help them turn this thing around.