Lakers rookie Julius Randle suffers broken leg vs. Houston Rockets

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iJulius Randle’s career is off to a rough start.

Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle suffered a broken tibia during Los Angeles’ season opening loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, and the team announced that that Randle will be taken to a hospital for further evaluation and possible surgery. An update on Randle’s status will be given by the team on Wednesday.

The injury occurred midway through the fourth quarter as Randle’s leg buckled, forcing him to collapse when he drove to the basket. Randle then sat near the basket stanchion, with an expression of frustration and sadness completely across his face. Players on the court claimed to hear a “pop” when Randle went down with the injury.

The entire Los Angeles Lakers roster went over to assist Randle, as head athletic trainer Gary Vitti immobilized Randle’s leg. The team offered encouraging words and helped to lift him onto the stretcher brought out by the team. Lakers head coach Byron Scott and Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant offered some thought’s on Randle’s unfortunate injury after the game.

Scott:

It is heartbreaking, because I saw him all summer. I saw the work that he was putting in. I saw the progression that he was making, the steps that he was taking to get better. And his first game, he goes down. I don’t think anybody in that locker room is happy about the way we played, but we’re even more saddened about the fact that we lost one of our young guys.

I just told him to stay strong. Adversity tests the true character of a man. This is some adversity that we’re facing with a young guy being out, and obviously, it’s something that he’s facing. I feel for him. I feel extremely bad for him. He was kind of crying, and I just told him to stay strong and that it’s going to make him a better basketball player.

Several NBA players, past and present, tweeted out their support for the Lakers big man.

Randle, 19, was selected 7th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers out of Kentucky. Randle was SEC Freshman of the Year last season as a member of the Wildcats, and helped Kentucky reach the NCAA National Championship. Randle is expected to be sidelined for the year.

Julius Randle finished with 2 points in 14 minutes of action in his first NBA game.

Update:

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, Randle underwent surgery for a clean break of the tibia this morning. He is expected to make a full recovery, but he will be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

@wcboyer24

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