Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell after glute injury: ‘I feel fine’

Fortune in their favor: D'Angelo Russell avoided a serious injury on Tuesday night.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ flashed before the franchise’s eyes on Tuesday night.

As they watched rookie D’Angelo Russell lay on the floor after a collision with Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, memories of Julius Randle going down against the Houston Rockets and Kobe Bryant having his season end early in three consecutive seasons crept into the team’s psyche. Was this really happening again? To the team’s No. 2 overall pick? Seriously?

Fortunately for the purple and gold, there was no serious damage. Russell had to carried into the locker room, but was only diagnosed with a bruised glute, and could’ve played afterward if the team needed him to. They didn’t though, of course, because it was a preseason game and Russell’s long-term health is much more important.

“I feel fine. I wanted to get back out there,” Russell told the L.A. Daily News. “But Gary Vitti and the rest of the staff said they didn’t think it would be a smart idea. I’ll just ice and take care of it the best way possible and try to get out there.”

Despite Russell’s desire to get back on the court as soon as possible, head coach Byron Scott was unsure of Russell’s status for practice Wednesday and for Thursday’s game against the Toronto Raptors in Ontario.

Kobe Bryant, who said Russell will be “fine,” did offer some perspective on the injury after enduring a similar one his rookie season.

“I had the same injury my rookie year too and it put me out for a couple of weeks,” Bryant said. “It was a tough fall. But it is what it is. I don’t think it’s something to be overly concerned about it. If he gets some rest, he’ll be fine.”

The Lakers better hope Bryant’s diagnosis is right.

The team has lost a combined 827 games to injury over the past three seasons, and if they want any shot at achieving their goal of making the playoffs for the first time in three years, they’ll need Russell healthy and playing well.

For now, it seems like this was a minor injury and won’t be a reoccurring thing. Russell will be back on the court as soon as he’s feeling up to it.

“He took a pretty good hard fall. I just hope it wasn’t anything broken,” Scott said. “The way he came down, I could tell he would be sore. I knew it would be his hip and it was just one of those things that now depends how fast the kid can heal."