After missing the entirety of the preseason with a stress reaction in his foot, Kyle Kuzma has been officially ruled out for the Lakers’ preseason opener against the Clippers. Kuzma was playing with USA Basketball when he suffered the injury and was forced to bow out as the last cut in training camp after being widely considered to be one of the team’s biggest expected contributors.
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Kyle Kuzma Injury Update: Lakers’ Forward out for Season Opener
Kuzma’s injury recovery timeline has proved to be a bit funky. While he initially came out and called the injury minor, saying he “caught it early”, the Lakers have yet to provide any insight into when he might be back. Rookie Talen Horton-Tucker is dealing with a similar injury that has kept him out of both summer league play and the preseason – a time period spanning three months. Should Kuzma’s injury take that long to heal, the Lakers’ bench is going to be desperate for an extra scoring punch.
Kuzma, though not necessarily expected to be a starter, was penciled in for a seemingly massive role on the Lakers. Widely considered to be one of the team’s five best players, Kuzma finds himself stuck behind the duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James at both forward positions and thus was looked at as a potential option for the sixth man role. Able to step in and spell James or Davis at either forward spot while providing an instant scoring punch, Kuzma was (and still is) expected to be a major contributor for the Lakers.
While it will undoubtedly hurt to miss Kuzma, the Lakers are making the right move by opting not to rush the young player back and instead allow him plenty of time to get healthy and confident in his body.
Lakers’ Injuries A Concern in Preseason
A year after battling through one of the worst injury bugs in recent memory, the Lakers decided to start fresh and brought on Judy Seto to take over the training staff as Director of Sports Performance. Though the Lakers haven’t yet found themselves in a serious injury situation, the sheer amount of players who got dinged up over a six-game preseason slate leaves a little cause for concern.
Along with a scare involving Anthony Davis, the Lakers have also dealt with injuries to Troy Daniels, Quinn Cook, and Alex Caruso among others. Davis has somewhat of a history with injuries and has never played more than 75 games in a season – a mark he has only hit twice in his seven-year career. Though Davis’ injury turned out to be nothing more than a minor sprain, Laker fans have a right to be nervous moving forward.
If the Lakers want to make a deep playoff run and contend for a title, they’ll need to keep Davis healthy as while LeBron is capable of pulling a team to the playoffs by himself, he’ll need the help as the Lakers inevitably run into super-duos like the Clippers, Rockets, and Warriors (once healthy).