Randle Cleared for Non-Contact Basketball Activities
Since fracturing his right tibia in the Lakers’ season opener on Oct. 28, Julius Randle has been pushing forward on the path to recovery. Randle’s journey passed a major checkpoint on Monday, as he was cleared to participate in full weight-bearing, non-contact basketball activities.
In the four months since his injury, Randle has been putting in work on the team’s elliptical machines in order to stay in shape. So when he finally returned to the court at Monday’s practice, the rookie wasn’t shellshocked by fatigue.
“I’ve honestly been eating the right stuff, keeping my weight down while I have been out,” he said. “I kind of got a jump start being able to get that sweat and a little bit of cardio, as far as the elliptical. Out here today, I got a little winded as (practice) went on, but I was fine.”
Randle, who has not put together a timetable for the remainder of his rehab, will gradually add more to his workload as the process goes on, according to head coach Byron Scott, who also says Randle’s activities will be limited to 30 minutes for the near future.
“Naturally, it’s going to be a little awkward in the beginning because you don’t have your timing in stuff,” Randle said. “I remember I was doing the Mikan Drill the other day, and my timing’s all messed up; got off on the wrong foot and stuff like that. So naturally it’s going to feel a little awkward … but as you get going, you trust your body.”
Scott also recently announced that Randle will begin traveling on the road with the team for the first time this season. Though the Kentucky product has seen just 14 minutes of playing time this year, he has been putting in mental reps by watching of film of the Lakers and the rest of the NBA.
“I put myself in situations (for when) I’ll be in the game — things I know I can do and things I know I need to work on,” he said. “It’s preparing me a lot. It’s definitely making a professional out of me and has me ready for next year.”
As part of that preparation for next season, Randle plans to work out with Kobe Bryant over the summer, like he did last year. In an interview with Mike Trudell on Time Warner Cable SportsNet during Sunday’s game, Bryant said he plans on helping Randle with his footwork and “the small intricacies of the game.”
Along with his sessions with Bryant, this offseason also figures to be a big step for Randle because Scott expects him to be a major part of the Lakers Summer League team.
“This is all in preparation for getting him back for Summer League,” Scott said. “So, like I said, each week we’ll try to amp it up a little bit. And by June, he should be running up and down the court and getting a lot of work in there.”
In addition to his fractured tibia, Randle also had a screw in his foot replaced back in January. However, Randle considers that hurdle now in the past.
“It’s a little tough, because you go with the leg and start making progress on that,” Randle said. “And then you feel like you get set back because you have to have surgery on your foot. So it was tough. But when I’m out here now, I don’t even think about it, don’t feel it.
“I’m just (feeling) nothing at all. No pain, no soreness, no nothing. So that goes a great deal to show what those guys have done for me in the training staff, as well as my commitment. … You have to have perspective on it, though. You know you’re not where you were six months ago, but you know that you’re building toward something.”
Boozer Misses Practice
Carlos Boozer missed practice on Monday due to a mild left-ankle sprain. However, he is probable for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.