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Lakers rookie Julius Randle suffers broken leg in NBA debut

Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle suffered a fractured tibia in his right leg during his NBA debut against the Rockets at the Staples Center on Tuesday.

The injury stoppage occurred with 6:46 remaining in the fourth quarter with the Rockets leading 102-75. Randle sustained the injury while driving to the hoop against Donatas Motiejunas. There didn't appear to be any significant contact between the two players, but Randle's left leg did make contact with his right leg as he prepared to jump.

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​Randle's right leg was placed into an aircast before he headed to the hospital. The Lakers announced after the game that Randle would undergo further evaluation on Wednesday; it is not yet known whether Randle will undergo surgery. As he sat on the baseline in pain, Randle was comforted by a number of his teammates, including Kobe Bryant.

"I just told him to keep his spirits up," Bryant told reporters afterwards. "That's what we're here for [as teammates]. We're here to pick him up and get him through it." 

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The 19-year-old Randle was selected with the No. 7 pick in June's draft after spending one year at Kentucky. A dynamic and powerful scoring threat, Randle is regarded as the Lakers' best long-term building block and was viewed as one of the top contenders for the 2015 Rookie of the Year award.

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​"Naturally, we're all thinking about Julius," Lakers coach Byron Scott told TNT in a post-game interview. "I had a chance to talk to him briefly. We all feel bad. He's a young, promising player in his first game and he gets an injury. ... I told him that he will be OK, and to just stay strong. He's going to be a great player in this league. He's just going to have to work harder, and he has that in him."

Houston went on to win 108-90 in the season opener for both teams. Randle finished with two points (on 1-for-3 shooting) in 14 minutes off the bench. 

Bryant led the Lakers with a team-high 19 points (on 6-for-17 shooting) and three rebounds. James Harden led all scorers with 32 points (on 7-for-17 shooting) and six assists. 

TNT first reported that Randle had suffered a broken leg.