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Lakers: Brook Lopez out at least three weeks

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 13: Brook Lopez #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on November 13, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Lakers defeated the Suns 100-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Entering an intriguing restricted free agency that will likely end outside Los Angeles, Julius Randle is getting a bigger audition.

Starting Lakers center Brook Lopez will miss a few weeks.

Lakers release:

Brook Lopez, who was injured in the second quarter of last night’s game against the Golden State Warriors, had X-rays last night and an MRI today. Results of the X-rays were negative and the MRI confirmed a moderate ankle sprain in his right ankle. Lopez will be reevaluated in three weeks.

This is a tough loss for the Lakers, who don’t have their first-round pick this season. There’s no upside in losing, and Lopez was central to their effort to build credibility for free agents.

Randle could get more playing time, even if he stays in his reserve role. Andrew Bogut, Ivica Zubac or Thomas Bryant could join the rotation. The Lakers could even go small more often with Larry Nance Jr. at center.

Though the injury isn’t as serious as some feared, it’s still bad news for Lopez, who’s had multiple right-foot issues. More stress on that foot won’t instill confidence ahead of his free agency next summer, when he’ll be 30 years old.