Lakers clear air on D’Angelo Russell after Darvin Ham says he had ‘tune-up procedure’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell reportedly underwent a treatment on Tuesday and was unable to practice with the team on Wednesday.

It was originally reported that Russell had undergone a procedure, but a Lakers team spokesperson clarified that was not the case. Russell reportedly is expected to be listed as questionable for the team’s game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was noncommittal regarding Russell’s status against the Nuggets.

Russell’s absence comes at a curious time, as he’s been named in trade rumors for the Lakers ahead of the NBA’s Feb. 8 trade deadline.

If Russell is traded on Wednesday or Thursday, he’d obviously miss the team’s game against Denver.

The Lakers have been banged up at the guard position all season long, as Gabe Vincent has only played in a handful of games for the team. Vincent is dealing with a knee injury, and he’s been unable to showcase why the Lakers went out and signed him in free agency this past offseason.

That’s left Austin Reaves and Russell as the two primary guard options for the Lakers, and it’s likely that Reaves – and superstar LeBron James – will take on bigger roles handling the ball if Russell is unable to go on Thursday.

The Lakers are currently the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference with a 27-25 record, so it’s possible the team looks to make an upgrade to the roster at the trade deadline. Whether Russell ends up being included in such a deal remains to be seen.

This season, the former No. 2 overall pick has been solid for the Lakers. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from beyond the arc. Russell has really thrived since being put back in the starting lineup, averaging 24.0 points per game over his last 13 contests.

The Lakers would love to pick up a win over Denver on Thursday, especially since the Nuggets knocked the Lakers out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Finals last season.

Thursday’s matchup between the Lakers and Nuggets is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. PST at Arena in Los Angeles.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.