Lakers' D'Angelo Russell playing it smart with ailing knee, not sure when he'll return

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the bigger surprises to start the season, instantly transforming into a possible playoff-caliber team under new coach Luke Walton. Yet the Lakers hit a bit of speed bump recently when they announced that second-year point guard D'Angelo Russell would miss a minimum of two weeks after receiving a PRP injection in his left knee.

The Lakers' second-leading scorer (averaging 16.1 points), Russell has been playing quite well before his injury. This might seem surprising since, according to Russell, he's been dealing with knee pain since the start of the season.

From ESPN's Baxter Holmes:

"I was in a lot of pain, but I knew how to control it," he said. "I knew what not to do. [There are] so many games in this league, so it's hard to stay healthy when you're injured and try to maintain that focus."

He added, "I can't really move the way I want, so when I try to fight it and [do] sharp movements and plant and do stuff like that, it aggravated it."

Russell shows his youthful age here. While he says he could manage the pain, playing through an injury like a knee injury could lead to serious problems down the road. But the Lakers have addressed Russell's injury sooner rather than later by having him receive the PRP injection that will help alleviate his pain. Russell though is being prudent with his recovery as he told reporters that he won't return until he feels like he is at a 100 percent.

"I definitely don't want to force anything," Russell said via Holmes. "I feel like I've got to be 100 percent perfect before I step back on the floor."

How long it will take Russell to get back to full health is undetermined. He is in the midst of the original two-week timeline and will be reevaluated in early December. The Lakers have depth in the backcourt with Jose Calderon, Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams, so they can at least manage while Russell remains out.

Russell has greatly contributed to the Lakers' success this season, so the sooner he returns at full strength the better it is for Los Angeles.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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