2:44pm: Randle will miss the entire season after undergoing surgery to repair the leg today, reports Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
11:24pm: The concern Tuesday night was that Randle would miss four to six months, but it will be difficult to know for sure until after he undergoes an evaluation following surgery, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). The regular season ends in about five and a half months.
8:41am: Lakers lottery pick Julius Randle suffered a broken tibia in his debut Tuesday, the team confirmed via press release. TNT’s Rachel Nichols was the first to report that the No. 7 overall selection from this year’s draft had fractured his leg (Twitter link). There’s no timetable for recovery yet on what the Lakers caution is an initial diagnosis, but the injury will almost certainly knock the rookie out for several months, if not the entire season, putting further strain on a roster that will already be without Steve Nash for all of 2014/15.
The Lakers are already planning to apply for a disabled player exception for Nash, and they could do so for Randle, too, if his injury is deemed a season-ender. The exception would only amount to half of Randle’s approximately $2.997MM rookie scale salary, or about $1.499MM, not nearly as lucrative as the Nash exception that’s worth close to $4.851MM. In any case, the Lakers are stuck with two players who have long-term injuries on their roster, so unless they decide to offload either Nash or Randle, they’ll have no more than 13 healthy players for the foreseeable future, even if they’re granted and use multiple disabled player exceptions. Point guard Ronnie Price and shooting guard Wayne Ellington have non-guaranteed contracts that become partially guaranteed on November 15th, while the team’s other 13 contracts, including those for Nash and Randle, are fully guaranteed.
Randle was highly touted coming out of the University of Kentucky, and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranked the power forward as the No. 2 prospect for the 2014 draft going into his freshman season before he slipped a bit over the course of the year. Concern over how the broken foot he’d suffered as a high school senior had healed likely helped him fall to the Lakers at No. 7. The Lakers’ decision to claim Carlos Boozer off amnesty waivers this summer looks prescient in the light of Randle’s injury, though the team isn’t expected to be in playoff contention this season. The Suns will receive the Lakers’ 2015 first-round pick if it doesn’t fall within the top five selections.