When the Los Angeles Lakers take the court on Tuesday for their season opener at the Staples Center, Kyle Kuzma won’t be with them.
Kuzma, who suffered a stress reaction in his left foot in August while training with Team USA for the FIBA World Cup, was officially ruled out of the season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said on Sunday. He was cleared for non-contact practice last week, however Vogel did not want to speculate how long it would take for Kuzma to be back to full health.
“Right now, we’re just talking about ramping up his activity, and we’re not going to look past two days from now, which is Tuesday,” Vogel said. “We’re going to try to increase his workload and activities this week, and we’ll see where we’re at.”
🎥 Frank Vogel gives an injury update on Kyle Kuzma and talks about when he'll decide on Opening Night starters. pic.twitter.com/bZGqFZ6S5A— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 20, 2019
Kuzma averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds last season with the Lakers, his second in the league. Vogel said that the 24-year-old will likely start with either full-court work with sprinting or half-court work with full contact, but that the medical staff hasn’t decided which route to take yet.
“He’s probably our third-best player, so to add him to the mix we can go a lot of different directions,” Vogel said. “It probably gets more enticing to play Anthony [Davis] at the 5 with [Kuzma] out there and LeBron and a couple guards. But our 5s have been great. So, I’m going to have what they like to call ‘good problems’ when he’s back to full activity.”
While the news may not be what Kuzma wants to hear — Vogel said he’s more than ready to get back on the floor — he knows there’s no reason to rush his return.
“He’s been impatient since he left the USA Team,” Vogel said. “But he understands that we’re being smart about it, and I’m pretty sure he’s on board with the plan.”
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