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- Julius Randle fractured his tibia on Oct. 28.
- The injury occurred during the Lakers’ first game for the 2014-15 NBA season.
- The Lakers will release an update on Randle’s situation on Oct. 29.
Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle fractured his tibia during the 2014-15 NBA season opener on Oct. 28, a 108-90 home loss to the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers issued a press release on their official website moments after Randle’s injury which reads, “Lakers forward Julius Randle left tonight’s game against the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter with an injury to his right leg. The initial diagnosis by team doctors at the arena is a fractured tibia. Randle will undergo further evaluation tomorrow, and an update on his status will be given at that time.”
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reported on Randle’s injury on Tuesday:
“Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle, the team’s top draft choice in June, broke his right leg midway through the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s 108-90 loss to the Houston Rockets.
“The Lakers said the intial diagnosis by team doctors at Staples Center was a broken tibia. Randle was to undergo further evauation, and the Lakers said they would provide an update on his status Wednesday.
“‘It is heartbreaking, because I saw him all summer,’ coach Byron Scott said. ‘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 don’t think anybody in that locker room is happy about the way we played, but we’re even more saddened about the fact that we lost one of our young guys.’
“Randle, the 19-year-old former Kentucky standout selected seventh overall in June, was driving to the basket when his right foot buckled and he collapsed on the court. Scott said he was told that other players heard a ‘pop’ when Randle went down.
“Randle held his leg for several minutes while medical officials tended to him. The Staples Center crowd fell quiet as a stretcher was brought out and Randle’s teammates huddled around him beneath the basket. Lakers star Kobe Bryant comforted him and and shook his head in disbelief.
“‘Even for myself, being a veteran and dealing with something like this, it’s tough,’ said Bryant, who missed most of last season with two major injuries. ‘For him being a 19-year-old kid, it’s tough. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to pick him up and take it day by day.
“‘It’s a fluke injury,’ he added. ‘There’s nothing you can do about that. He worked extremely hard, he trained extremely hard. Then something like this happens, so you’ve kind of got to give yourself up to that and control what you can control, and what happens, happens. And now it’s on him to control how he handles this.’
“Randle scored two points on 1-for-3 shooting in 14 minutes. Scott said he spoke with his rookie after the game.
“‘I just told him to stay strong,’ Scott said. ‘Adversity tests the true character of a man. This is some adversity that we’re facing. I feel for him. I feel extremely bad for him. He was kind of crying, and I just told him to stay strong and that it’s going to to make him a better basketball player.'”
ESPN’s J.A. Adande weighed in on Randle’s situation in his Oct. 28 blog:
“The present is now paused for the future of the Lakers. Randle is the only player on the roster to whom the Lakers have rights in 2018-19. He and Nick Young (currently sidelined with a thumb injury) are the only players on the books for 2016-17. In sports, hope is the only tolerable alternative to expectations, and at the moment, the Lakers don’t have a grasp on either.
“At the moment, the only reason for optimism in Lakerland is they could actually be bad enough to get a top-five draft pick, which would enable them to retain one of the the picks they’d traded to the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash (the same Steve Nash who has been declared out for this season because of a lingering back injury). One NBA observer I talked to was ready to proclaim the Lakers the worst team in the Western Conference.
“What will the Lakers miss seeing while Randle is sidelined?
“‘Growth,’ Bryant said. ‘Growth. Not only shooting the ball, but handling the ball and being a point forward and initiating the offense.'”
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