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Lakers' Russell to sit out against Thunder and Warriors

Lakers' Russell to sit out against Thunder and Warriors
Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell defends against the Brooklyn Nets' Yogi Ferrell in a game Nov. 15. Russell will sit out the Lakers' games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights because of a sore knee. (Harry How/ Getty Images)

D’Angelo Russell sat out Tuesday night’s game against Oklahoma City because of persistent soreness in his left knee, and the Lakers point guard will not travel with the team for Wednesday night’s game at Golden State.

Russell, who is averaging 16.1 points, 4.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds a game, also sat out Friday night's loss to San Antonio before returning for Sunday night's game against Chicago, meaning he will miss at least three of four games.

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“Obviously, the more time you miss, the more serious it seems to be, but I’m not going to try to guess on that,” Coach Luke Walton said before Tuesday night’s game.

"When the training staff and doctors and D'Angelo let us know he's good to go, he'll be back in there. Until they give us more information or we know more for certain, it's day to day."

Power forward Julius Randle was also questionable for Tuesday night's game because of a hip pointer he suffered in practice on Monday.

Randle, who entered Tuesday with averages of 14.1 points and 8.3 rebounds a game, worked out on the Staples Center court before the game and, after huddling with athletic trainers, was deemed fit to start.

Russell, the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, convinced the coaching and training staff that he could play Sunday night against the Bulls, but he seemed tentative in a 118-110 loss, spending most of his time on the perimeter instead of driving to the basket.

He made three of 11 shots, with nine of those attempts coming from behind the three-point line, and scored eight points. He had seven assists and three rebounds but admitted after the game that he was cautious because of the knee.

"If he can't go out and play without any restrictions, it's not really worth having him out there right now," Walton said. "He's too young and his future is too bright to risk that, but if he can get out there and play the way we know he can, we want him on the court."

Walton said he "didn't know the details" of Russell's injury, "but they said it hurts when he's cutting. We trust the opinion of the training staff. If he can't play, he can't play."

Jose Calderon, an 11-year veteran, started for Russell so Walton could keep his vaunted second unit, which ranks first in the NBA with an average of 51.6 points a game, intact. But Russell’s absence will be felt.

"He's a dynamic guard," Walton said. "He's had huge nights for us. It hurts now because we need him, we need him to play and grow and get better and have chemistry with the guys."

Etc.

The Lakers assigned 7-foot-1 reserve center Ivica Zubac, who has been slowed by an ankle injury, to the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA’s Development League. The 19-year-old rookie from Croatia, who has seven points and five rebounds in 27 minutes of three games for the Lakers, is expected to play Wednesday night against the Arizona Suns. … The Lakers entered Tuesday ranked third in the NBA in scoring with an average of 109.8 points a game, but they ranked 27th with an average of 109.6 points allowed per game.

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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