Julius Randle Injury: Updates on Lakers Star's Broken Leg and Recovery

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2014

USA Today

Updates from Monday, Nov. 10

ESPN's Marc Stein reports on the Lakers attempt to use a Disabled Player Exception for rookie Julius Randle:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Lakers, I'm told, have been granted a Disabled Player Exception after losing Julius Randle for the season worth nearly $1.5 million

Steve Kyler and Eric Pincus of BasketballInsiders.com provides the date by which the Lakers must use the exception and how much money they will be able to spend:

Steve Kyler @stevekylerNBA

Lakers have until March 10th to use the $1.5m DPE or they lose it. Can use it to sign a player or trade for one.

Eric Pincus @EricPincus

The Lakers can sign a player for single single at $1,498,580, claim a player off waivers or trade for a player making $1,598,580 - 1yr only

Updates from Tuesday, Nov. 4

The Lakers and Mark Media of the L.A. Daily News have Randle's thoughts following his surgery:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

.@J30_RANDLE's mindset shifted immediately following surgery: "When you have good family & coaches around you it makes the process easier."

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Julius Randle: "The pain has gotten relatively better every day. Right now it's just a process. But honestly I'm not down or upset"

Updates from Wednesday, Oct. 29 

The Lakers provide an update on Julius Randle's injury:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

.@J30_RANDLE had surgery this morning to repair his fractured tibia. He will miss the rest of the 2014-15 season. http://t.co/ceDUMTSHXX

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times initially reported the news:

Mike Bresnahan @Mike_Bresnahan

Julius Randle underwent surgery this morning and is expected to make a full recovery from his broken leg. He won't return this season.

Original Text:

Rookie forward Julius Randle represents a new era of Los Angeles Lakers basketball, but that progression was put on hold in the Lakers' 108-90 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Lakers revealed the rookie suffered a broken leg:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Byron announces that rookie Julius Randle suffered a broken tibia. He’s currently being transferred to the hospital.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Byron: “It’s heartbreaking.”

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CNN's Rachel Nichols provides a glimpse of Randle being helped into an ambulance:

Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols

Very tough scene at Staples Center as Julius Randle is loaded into an ambulance, with his mother by his side http://t.co/fzz2nEbjxi

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN is reporting that Randle is having surgery to repair the damage:

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

Source says Julius Randle is having surgery this morning. It was a clean break of the tibia. Full recovery expected, but will be out a while

Following a miserable 2013-14 season that saw the Lakers struggle without the services of superstar guard Kobe Bryant, they landed a nice consolation prize in selecting Randle seventh overall out of the University of Kentucky in the 2014 NBA draft.

Randle was a dominant force for John Calipari's Wildcats as he somewhat surprisingly helped lead them all the way to the national title game. He fell a bit further in the draft than most initially expected, but the Lakers had to be thrilled to secure him.

Although Randle is a supremely talented player, it became clear from the start that the Lakers intended to bring the 19-year-old phenom along slowly. With the acquisition of Carlos Boozer during the offseason, much of the pressure on Randle to be a primary complement to Kobe right off the bat was alleviated.

Even so, the expectations were still high from a statistical standpoint. Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com figured Randle would at least come close to averaging a double-double per game in 2014-15:

Steve Kyler @stevekylerNBA

.@RambysPro: What stat-line you see for Julius Randle? ---> was 15 and 10 at Kentucky... slightly under that in the NBA as a rookie

If that wasn't enough, Randle started to draw comparisons to Hall of Fame players before even suiting up for a regular-season contest. ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin went so far as to liken his skill set to that of Charles Barkley:

Dave McMenamin @mcten

Julius Randle has a little Barkley in him with his ability to grab a defensive board and put it on the floor to start the break.

That is a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of a first-year player, but it is understandable since the Lakers are searching for the next generation of stars to succeed Bryant. Randle may reach that level soon enough; however, the organization has done a nice job of keeping things in perspective.

Head coach Byron Scott has led the way in that regard, as he challenged the 6'9", 250-pound rookie to improve his conditioning during the lead-up to the season, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

"The biggest thing with him right now is that he has to get in better shape," Scott said. "He's in good shape but he has to get in great shape...When you're not in great shape and you get tired, you lose focus, it's that simple. It's just a matter of getting him in great shape."

While the Lakers are lacking in star power aside from Bryant, they most definitely have an ensemble cast that is capable of picking up the slack both offensively and defensively with Randle out of action.

Even though the 2013-14 campaign was less than ideal, it gave L.A. the opportunity to thrust certain players into action to gain experience with valuable minutes. Veterans like Bryant and Boozer will be leaned on heavily, but the same can be said for Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson, among others.

As high as hopes are for Randle this season and beyond, he landed in a favorable position due to the Lakers' depth. He will certainly be a big part of the cause when he does return, but Los Angeles will be able to take a committee approach to replace his production in the meantime.

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