D’Angelo Russell ready to rejoin Lakers lineup, per Darvin Ham

D’Angelo Russell is expected to rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers for Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors at Crypto.com Arena. At practice on Thursday, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham confirmed that DLo, who has missed the last six games with a sprained ankle, will reclaim his spot in the starting lineup.

“He went through a full practice today and we expect him to be available for tomorrow,” shared Ham, who did not reveal if Russell will be on a minutes restriction.

Dennis Schroder will return to the Sixth Man role he inhabited since Russell was acquired at the trade deadline.

Russell landed awkwardly in the first half of the Lakers’ win over the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 23 (which also happened to be his 27th birthday). Despite an MRI that revealed no structural damage and both Ham and Russell downplaying the seriousness of the ankle sprain, Russell has needed more than two weeks to recuperate.

Excluding his brief stint in the Golden State game, the point guard averaged 17.3 points and 5.7 assists on .450/.375/.769 shooting splits in three appearances with the Lakers. His shooting, passing, and play-making provide key spacing and dynamism around Anthony Davis and, when he returns from his own lower leg issue, LeBron James.

Schroder has helped hold down the fort in the absence of D’Angelo (and LeBron). Dennis has put up 14.3 points and 8.5 assists over his six starts in place of Russell.

“Huge,” D’Angelo Russell said when asked about Dennis’ work as the starter. “He carried the team, he led the team. Did everything he possibly could do…He’s always been that guy. Just super competitive and leads by example as well, defensively and offensively.”

Overall, the Lakers’ revamped supporting cast orbiting a dialed-in AD has allowed Los Angeles to ascend in the Western Conference standings. The Lakers are 4-2 without Russell and 3-2 without both him and LeBron.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles announced on Thursday that another deadline acquisition, Mo Bamba, will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks due to a high left ankle sprain.

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