But the play was somewhat special nonetheless: it marked the first time the four-star defensive tackle was able to compete in contact drills this week.
"I've felt good about my knee," said Russell, a Texas commitment. "But it hasn't really been my call."
Russell sustained the knee injury earlier this season when he took a high-low shot against Edison in San Antonio Houston's third game of the season. He's been fighting it ever since, and put his condition at 40-45 percent.
"If I can play, I feel like I should go out there and play," Russell said.
And play he did Thursday, taking several snaps despite noticeably limping. Russell said seeing the field last week meant a lot to him, stating that he was not only the first one from his school to win a spot in the game, but also the first from his ISD.
"When they called me and told me I was in, I was jumping all over the house," Russell said. "It's a chance to play your last game of high school on the biggest stage possible."
Russell said he hoped his appearance would open up the game for Houston teammates like Javonte McGee. But Russell said he wouldn't attempt to sway McGee, one of the state's top defensive line prospects in 2012, to join him at Texas.
"It's his own mind, and I hope he goes to the school that best fits him," Russell said. "I just tell (my teammates) to go where they feel happy."
Russell said he picked Texas for those very reasons, as well as the fact that his mom can watch him play. An added bonus was the school's reputation in his desired field: engineering.
Once he gets to Texas, Russell said he thinks he has playmaking potential.
"I'm a big 298-pound defensive lineman who will play sideline to sideline," Russell said. "If you're in front of me, and you're between me and the ball, you're going to get run over."
Russell said he enjoyed spending time with his future teammates, taking time to go out and eat with Malcolm Brown and Jaxon Shipley.
"They're all great guys, and the fact that they're here means that they're the best out of their areas," Russell said. "We're going to take that talent, go out there and win another championship."