The Los Angeles Lakers announced that point guard D’Angelo Russell is expected to miss a “minimum of two weeks” after receiving a PRP injection in his left knee this afternoon. Russell (16.1 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.4 RPG in 2016-17) had missed two of the Lakers’ past three games and appeared to have limited mobility in the 23 minutes he played against the Chicago Bulls last Sunday.
The recovery time for Platelet Rich Plasma injections varies depending upon the severity of the injury and the individual, but Russell is expected to be re-evaluated in one week. Veteran point guard Jose Calderon filled in for Russell in their last game (12 points, six rebounds, four assists in a win over the visiting OKC Thunder), but the team does have several additional options in the event that Russell’s recovery period goes a bit longer than initially anticipated.
Beyond also having seldom-used veteran Marcelo Huertas, Jordan Clarkson (14.9 PPG, 2.3 APG, 2.7 RPG) also has experience running the point. Clarkson may have embraced a role more focused on providing scoring through the first 15 games, but he could be asked to focus on playmaking and generating offense for other players a bit more throughout this stretch.
Coach Luke Walton has continued to encourage rookie Brandon Ingram to initiate the offense and take advantage of his ability to create thus far, so it also leaves the additional option of moving the 6’9 small forward into the starting rotation in order to further balance things if they so choose. In addition to potentially allowing Ingram to have even more of an impact on the way the team starts offensively, he might also be able to help slow some of the opposing perimeter scorers down before they get into a rhythm.
Russell’s loss will be tough as the offense has appeared a bit more stagnant and over-reliant upon iso-sets over stretches of the past few games, but this team has already proven to be pretty resilient over just the first few weeks of the season and does have one of the deeper rotations.
Sources: Magic to Aggressively Shop Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja
It might go down as one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time: How did this Magic team start 8-4? Orlando has since gone a ghastly 4-27, which will most likely lead to a fire sale at next month’s trade deadline. Rival executives expect Jeff Weltman, Orlando’s new team president, to aggressively hunt for new homes for the likes of Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja, given that Nikola Vucevic’s broken finger is likely to preclude dealing the center.
Source: Marc Stein of the New York Times
Nikola Mirotic: Potential Trade Has Been ‘motivation’
Bulls forward Niko Mirotic admits that all the trade speculation surrounding his future in Chicago has been a motivating factor for him as he continues the best stretch of his NBA career. Monday marked the first day of the season on which Mirotic could be traded.
“This is kind of some motivation for me,” Mirotic said after Monday’s 119-111 win over the Miami Heat. “I know it sounds weird. But people are talking, ‘OK, Niko be gone’ and ‘Bye bye, Niko’ or whatever. But for me, it’s OK, just do what you’ve got to do. Play well and try to do your best until the last day and not be distracted. I know a lot of people were asking me before this, ‘OK, Niko, Jan. 15’s coming, what do you think?’
“No, I’m not thinking about Jan. 15. I’m thinking day by day, doing my job, being consistent, everybody’s talking about that the last couple years, and that’s my goal. Because when I focus day by day, it’s for me easier.”
“I am enjoying this moment,” Mirotic said. “The team is winning. I am playing well. That’s all I can ask … I know my name is going to be there [in trade speculation]. But I’m doing my job, I’m sure [the Bulls front office is] doing their job, and we’re both going to do what’s the best for the team.”
Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN
Report: Miami HEAT Apply for Disabled-Player Exception
The Miami Heat have applied to the NBA for the $5.5 million disabled-player exception that became available in the wake the decision by guard Dion Waitersto undergo surgery on his chronically troublesome left ankle.
Monday was the deadline to file for the exception, which is half of Waiters’ 2017-18 salary.
The exception is made available if an independent medical panel determines that Waiters will be sidelined at least through June 15. The part of the process has now been set in motion.
The timetable for Waiters’ recovery runs at least that long, although he would be eligible to return earlier even if the exception is spent.
The exception does not create an additional roster spot, with the Heat already at the maximum of 15 players under standard NBA contracts, in addition to the two allowable two-way contracts with the developmental league.