Why Los Angeles Lakers Fans Should Be Salivating Over Julius Randle’s Return

One of last year’s brightest draft prospects became an all-but-forgotten man this season—Julius Randle broke his leg on opening night and missed his entire rookie campaign. 

But the No. 7 pick out of Kentucky is still very much present and is on track to return at full strength in the fall during training camp.

Randle has been working out, watching games from the sidelines and, as Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times recently noted, is looking toward summer league for some much-needed prep work.

At 6’9” and 250 pounds, the left-handed power forward offers an intriguing combination of strength and agility. His progress was already evident during the preseason as he sought to combine a bruising inside game with ball-handling open-court moves, including a memorable coast-to-coast romp against the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 22.

Randle had 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench that night, providing a scintillating preview of the bright future ahead. 

But all that came crashing to earth one week later during the season opener against the Houston Rockets. The promising lottery pick was still a month shy of his 20th birthday.

Randle recently put it into his own words in an article written for The Cauldron:

13 minutes and 34 seconds. That’s how long it took for the entirety of my first season in the NBA to come to a crashing halt. Fractured tibia, they told me. I would need surgery, and I was done for the year. It happened on a routine play. I drove toward the basket like I had done thousands of times before, only this time, when I planted my right leg to go up for the score, I heard a pop.

There was no pain. There was just that pop, and the immediate realization that there was no point in even trying to stand up.

Surgery, rehabilitation and unimaginable frustration would await him. And w...

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