D’Angelo Russell trying to earn respect, says tweaked ankle is fine

Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell, left, shoots as Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas defends on Friday night.

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell, left, shoots as Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas defends on Friday night.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

D’Angelo Russell isn’t too concerned about a mild left ankle sprain, suffered Sunday night during the Lakers’ 107-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Russell took a quick trip to the locker room during the game to get the ankle taped up by the Lakers’ trainers.

He said after the game that he tweaked the ankle “just a little bit. It’s fine though.”


Even with the minor injury, Russell played a career-high 36 minutes, scoring 13 points with a best nine rebounds and six assists (matching his career best).

In the Lakers’ Friday night loss to the Toronto Raptors, he was on the court for 34 minutes, scoring 17 points.

Does he see progress dating back to the start of the season?

“Yeah, sure,” said Russell.

Is he playing how he expected to play to this point?

“Better and better, every day” he answered.

For the 19-year rookie, playing with veterans like Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Nick Young and Metta World Peace is an adjustment.

“I’m trying to earn the respect from playing with the older guys, and them respecting my play calls,” he said.

Russell said he wants his fellow Lakers to want to be on the court with him.

“I’m not worried about what everybody is saying, just keep playing and wanting my teammates to want to play with me,” he said.

The Lakers and Russell will have a challenge on Tuesday night when they visit the Golden State Warriors (15-0).

With a win over the Lakers, the Warriors can set the record for best start in NBA history with 16 in a row.

Does he look forward to trying to stop Golden State from reaching that goal?

“Sure,” said Russell, in a relatively brief interview.

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