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Lakers are getting injured at an alarming pace

Lakers are getting injured at an alarming pace
Lakers power forward Julius Randle works in the post against Trail Blazers forward Victor Claver during a preseason game last week. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The Lakers season opener on Tuesday night saw rookie power forward Julius Randle carted off in a stretcher with a broken tibia.

After a difficult 27-55 season, the Lakers drafted Randle with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. It's not entirely clear how long Randle will sit out, but his rookie season is certainly in jeopardy.

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Last year, the Lakers saw players miss a league-high 319 games due to injury.

Veteran guard Steve Nash has already been declared out for the season with chronic nerve issues in his back. Nick Young will miss about 17 games as he recovers from thumb surgery.

If Randle sits out the remainder of the year, along with Nash and Young's lost time, the Lakers are already looking at 180 games missed, just counting those three players.

The team also has some minor injuries. Ryan Kelly said Tuesday that he was "really close" to a return from a hamstring strain. Wayne Ellington has improved after suffering a concussion in the Lakers' final preseason game.

Xavier Henry (knee) made a surprise appearance in the Lakers' opener after sitting out the entire exhibition season. Ronnie Price was able to play through a bruised knee. Jordan Hill also returned from a neck strain.

Jeremy Lin (ankles) and Jordan Clarkson (calf) missed preseason games but have returned to health.

Add Kelly and Ellington to the projected total, and the Lakers are already on track for 57% of last year's injury total -- which is far from a positive sign just one game into the season.

If there's a positive to look at, in Randle's injury, Lakers Hall of Famer James Worthy broke his leg in his rookie season but went on to help the Lakers win three titles and an NBA Finals MVP nod in 1988.

"I had the same injury as @J30_RANDLE - he'll recover fine. #StayStrong," Worthy tweeted of Randle on Tuesday night.

The Lakers don't have long to reflect on the loss -- they visit the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night in an early back-to-back set to open the season.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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