Lakers consider Julius Randle questionable vs. New Orleans despite completing morning shootaround

first_imgNEW ORLEANS >> After spending the last week nursing a hip pointer injury that has limited his explosiveness, Lakers forward Julius Randle offered some promising signs that he can tap into his strength and athleticism again.Randle completed all of morning shootaround without any setbacks in hopes to play when the Lakers (9-9) visit the New Orleans Pelicans (6-12) on Tuesday at Smoothie King Center. Though Lakers coach Luke Walton still listed Randle as questionable to return, the team’s medical staff outlined some specific parameters that would allow him to play.“I’d like to see him do some push moves and really getting banged where has to stop and change direction and do more game like activities more than we did this morning,” Walton said. “If he feels great with that, we should be good to go.”Even if Randle misses his fourth consecutive game, Walton provided some comforting news the training staff told him about the nature of his injury. “They told me there’s no potential to get worse,” Walton said. “It’s just a pain thing. It’s not going to make the muscle worse. But until it calms down, every time he cuts, it’s a sharp pain in that area. So there’s nothing to worry about that on that end.”If Randle cannot play, Walton said he feels inclined to start Thomas Robinson at power forward for numerous reasons. Robinson posted nine points and eight rebounds in Sunday’s win over Atlanta. Walton has wanted to keep the Lakers’ reserve unit intact. They lead the NBA out of 30 teams in points (52), tied for first in assists (10.1), second in rebounding (20.2) and second in minutes played (23). And Walton brought up the 6-foot-11, 253-pound frame of New Orleans forward Anthony Davis, who has averaged 37.1 points on 51.9 percent shooting and 10.9 rebounds.While Randle has averaged 13.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting and 8.1 rebounds in 15 games, Walton gushed about Robinson’s work ethic despite fluctuating playing time. Robinson has averaged 2.1 points on 32.1 percent shooting and 2.8 rebounds in 7.2 minutes per game through nine appearances.“I love that he’s continued to work every day and hasn’t played much. When he got the opportunity, he obviously had a good game last game. But his attitude has been great. The guys on the team like him and he is vocal in the huddles. That’s hard to do,” said Walton, who then reflected on his 11-year NBA career. “I’ve been that player plenty of times when you’re not getting minutes in the rotation. I felt uncomfortable because I wasn’t playing. When stuff needs to be said and is tough, he’s always one of the guys that’s in the middle of the group that is trying to keep us going in the right direction.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img