In a season that has been sideways basically from the start, the Lakers took another hit Friday night when rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell suffered a moderate sprained right ankle against the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers, who were well on their way to a 116-105 loss to the Nuggets at Staples Center before Russell was injured, said their prized first-year guard had X-rays in the locker room that were negative.
Russell didn't return to the game against the Nuggets, and his playing status for the rest of the season will be based on how his ankle responds Saturday.
“I'll see how it feels in the morning,” Russell said. “I definitely want to get out there. We've only got a few games left. I want to finish the season out on a positive note. So I definitely want to get out there as soon as possible.”
As they rapidly approach their worst record in franchise history, the Lakers have only 10 games left before the 2015-16 campaign mercifully comes to an end.
Lakers Coach Byron Scott said the team will be cautious with Russell.
The Lakers play again Sunday against the Washington Wizards at home and then at Utah on Monday night.
“I'm hoping the young man is going to be OK in the next couple of days,” Scott said. “Hopefully he can play Sunday. If he's not close to 100%, then he won't. Then that obviously puts Monday in jeopardy as well. Then we'll just have to wait until next week.
“But right now I'm not ruling anything out until tomorrow and then we'll just see how he feels.”
Russell rolled his right ankle when he stepped on the foot of Denver guard D.J. Augustin with three minutes 10 seconds left in the second quarter.
Russell stayed down on the court for a while until Lakers trainer Gary Vitti came to check on him.
Eventually Russell wrapped his arms around teammates Tarik Black and Jordan Clarkson, who carried him into the locker room.
“I just remember stepping down,” Russell said. “I don't know if I stepped on his foot or I just stepped wrong. It felt like my ankle touched the ground when I rolled it. It was a crazy pain I felt.”
Russell was not having a very good night as it was, his showdown against Denver rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay nothing worthwhile.
Russell left having scored two points, missing three of his four shots, with no assists. He had entered the game averaging 13.3 points and 3.5 assists. Mudiay had nine points.
If there was any good news, it was that Russell stood in the hallway when he talked to the media after the game.
He was able to walk away with just a little limp.
“It's swollen,” he said. “The pain was bad. Then I couldn't walk at all. Then I iced it down and the numb went away and I was able to walk.”
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter: @BA_Turner