Clippers center DeAndre Jordan was watching the Lakers game against Houston on Tuesday and was shocked by Julius Randle’s injury.
Randle, the 19-year-old rookie forward, made his NBA debut for the Lakers on Tuesday night, but it was shortlived after he broke his leg and now is expected to miss the remainder of the season. After watching the play the first time, Jordan figured it was a sprained ankle.
"… When they put him on the stretcher in an air cast I thought ‘This could be bad,’" Jordan said. "I hope he gets back on the court fast. I hope he has a healthy and speedy recovery."
Randle, the No. 7 overall pick in this year’s draft, was an important piece to the Lakers’ roster. The Clippers and Lakers are rivals as they play in the same town and share the same arena, but when it comes to moments like this, they share the same feelings. They feel for Randle.
"It’s unfortunate," Chris Paul said. "I’ve been injured, and I’ve seen a lot of injuries. You can tell he was going into shock. For him to be as talented as he is, on the opening game and for that to happen, I hate it for him."
Said Clippers coach Doc Rivers: "That was bad. I feel so bad. I have a son in the NBA (New Orleans guard Austin Rivers). My first thought was ‘man, as a rookie, your first game and the team leaves that night to go on the road and you stay in a hospital room by yourself.’ Honestly, that really tugged at me."
This is the second season-ending injury for the Lakers. Steve Nash has a back injury and is out for the year, and the Clippers were disappointed for Nash as well.
Injuries can be a sobering reminder of how quickly things can change for all athletes, whether you’re a teammate or opposing player.
"No question," Paul said. "I don’t think people realize how much guys love to play this game. For that to be taken away because of injury is always tough to deal with."
Jordan said he doesn’t think about getting injured, because that’s when injuries usually happen. But he’s reminded of injuries every so often.
"The last time I thought about it was with was when Paul George got injured, and I thought about it again when Kevin Durant got injured and then last night," Jordan said. "Things like that you can’t control. If they’re going to happen, they’ll happen. I feel sorry for those guys. I hope they have a speedy and healthy recovery."
The Lakers and Clippers play for the first time this season on Friday at Staples Center.