Julius Randle Breaks Leg, Lakers Lose 1 of Few Reasons for Hope in 2014-15

On a night that was supposed to be cause for celebration, the Los Angeles Lakers' season took a disastrous detour.

When rookie power forward Julius Randle crumbled to the hardwood after landing awkwardly on his right leg midway through the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 108-90 loss to the Houston Rockets, one of the few reasons the Lakers had to be optimistic suddenly evaporated.

ESPN Radio LA's Beto Duran shared a photo of Kobe Bryant and other Lakers players surrounding Randle following the injury:

The diagnosis: a broken right tibia. 

Head coach Byron Scott confirmed the news shortly after the conclusion of Tuesday's contest, per the Lakers' Twitter account: 

And just like that, one game into an 82-game journey, the Lakers' hopes have been dashed. 

No, this wasn't a playoff team to begin with, but Randle provided a source of bright-eyed optimism that the Lakers haven't had since Andrew Bynum was drafted in 2005.

For once, homegrown talent was going to overshadow free-agent signings. 

Remember, this is a franchise that's been fortunate enough to make just three lottery picks (Eddie Jones, Bynum and Randle) since the system was redesigned more than two decades ago. 

Randle represented better days—a sort of bridge between the old guard and a prosperous future. Bleacher Report medical analyst Dr. Dave Siebert provided insight about the injury and Randle's projected recovery time: 

For now, though, a sneak preview of what's to come will be put on hold as Randle rehabilitates and the Lakers determine what direction they're headed in. 

As Scott told TNT's Rachel Nichols following the loss, Randle's injury will provide some of the Lakers' unproven pieces with a chance to prove their worth: 

I think naturally we're all thinking about Julius' we...

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