The scene was chilling. Quickly, the Staples Center fell quiet.
The entire Lakers roster walked over to the far basket in support of their fallen teammate. Rookie forward Julius Randle was down with a broken tibia suffered on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter of the team’s opening night 108-90 loss to the Houston Rockets.
As they all stood by and looked on, some provided words of encouragement to the 19-year-old rookie, including 19-year veteran Kobe Bryant.
"I just told him to keep his spirits up," Bryant recalled.
The timetable for Randle’s injury is unknown. At the conclusion of the game, he was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Inside the locker room following the loss, there wasn’t any talk of the rookie’s injury, head coach Byron Scott says, although it was on everyone’s mind.
"It’s heartbreaking," Scott said, who was coaching his first game with the Lakers. "I saw him all summer. I saw the work that he was putting in. I saw the progression that he was making, the steps that he was taking to get better and his first game he goes down.
"I feel extremely bad for him."
Praying for the best and a speedy recovery for Julius Randle! Never want to see that happen to anybody….
The onus, Bryant believes, is now on the franchise to help Randle move forward.
"You learn that you (can only control what you can control)," Bryant said. "Sometimes life’s circumstances put you in a position where you have no choice but to handle it that way. Julius is not going to have a choice. We’re not going to let him get down about this.
"I think what this franchise has always been good about doing is surrounding the young players with players who’ve come before and he has a great cast around him from myself to James Worthy and A.C. Green and Magic (Johnson). We’re all there. We’ll help him through this. He’ll come back a better basketball player. That’s the goal to try to find the silver lining within everything."