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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Broderick Turner

D'Angelo Russell ready to reboot his hot Lakers start coming off injury

LOS ANGELES — After going through a full practice Thursday, D'Angelo Russell will be available to play for the Lakers on Friday against the Toronto Raptors at Arena after missing the last six games with a sprained right ankle.

Russell said he was "good" and ready" after sitting out the last two weeks to let his ankle heal.

"Took some time off, unfortunately, but ready to get back out there and contribute," he said.

Russell was injured Feb. 23 against the Golden State Warriors in a freak accident.

While taking the ball out of bounds after a Warriors basket, Russell stepped back and onto the foot of Golden State's Donte DiVincenzo.

Russell said he didn't think he would be out so long.

"I just thought I rolled my ankle and I'd be back," Russell said. "But obviously, everybody's body is different and I need a little longer to get right."

In his four games with the Lakers since being acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Russell averaged 13.5 points and 5.0 assists.

He shot 44.2% from the field, 35.3% from 3-point range.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said they missed Russell's ability to stretch the floor with outside shooting and his ability to run the offense.

"I mean, just his shooting, man. You can never have enough shooters," Ham said. "And he's a high-level thinker, IQ basketball-wise, just his moxie, his ability to control tempo, understand momentum, understand the different strike zones, who has the hot hand. Like all of it. He's an All-Star, so it's everything that comes with that. It'll be good to have that back out there out on the floor in our behalf."

Ham said he and his medical staff will discuss how many minutes Russell will be able to play against the Raptors.

Ham said Russell will start and that Dennis Schroder will return to his role as a spark plug off the bench.

"Dennis will come off," Ham said. "Again, like I say, I know starting is a big deal to a lot of people, but at the end of the day, finishing lineup is probably a little bit more important and Dennis will definitely be in the mix."

The Lakers are 5-2 since the All-Star break and 4-2 since Russell was injured.

"Just passion. I think everybody is playing with passion," Russell said. "I guess since the trade, I've kind of felt that and it never let off. I think everybody is kind of contributing in their own way. Everybody is locked into the goal and everybody is well aware of it. It's not flying under the radar what we're trying to get done."

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