Injuries Are Derailing the Los Angeles Lakers’ Hot Start

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers stunned the Golden State Warriors in early November with a 117-97 victory.

The Warriors exacted revenge during a pair of games sandwiching the Thanksgiving holiday, demolishing the Lakers 149-106 on Wednesday in Oakland before a 109-85 win on Friday at Staples Center.

"It looked like a Thanksgiving food hangover," head coach Luke Walton said. "I thought our guys played hard; we just didn't play hard and smart tonight."

The Lakers had opened the season in impressive fashion, winning seven of their first 12 before facing a new foe: injuries. Second-year guard D'Angelo Russell sat out last week's loss to the San Antonio Spurs with a sore knee. He returned for one game, another defeat at home to the Chicago Bulls, but the injury continued to linger.

On Wednesday, Russell underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection, which intentionally creates inflammation, inspiring Russell's own immune system to heal the joint. Recovery will sideline L.A.'s starting point guard for at least two weeks, per the Lakers.

Meanwhile, power forward Julius Randle, who has arguably been the Lakers' most valuable player through the first month of the season, suffered a hip pointer. Like Russell, he missed both games against the Warriors.

"I was hoping [Randle] was going to play tonight. I'm not really familiar with the timetable on a hip pointer. I think it's different for everybody," Walton said before the Lakers' loss Friday.

"This morning, he said he was going to try to shoot around," Walton continued. "He started getting up and down, and he was in pain, so it didn't make sense to try and force it."

Rewind to earlier in the week when the short-handed Lakers survived the Oklahoma City Thunder via Nick Young three-pointer with five seconds left on the clock: Young has provided an unexpected scoring punch for the Lakers this season, but he di...

About the Author