The Los Angeles Lakers announced Kyle Kuzma underwent X-rays on his right ankle, which came back negative, but the rookie forward is considered questionable for Wednesday’s matchup with the Golden State Warriors. The game is a second of a back-to-back for the Lakers.
En route to scoring 24 of his 26 points in the second half against the Denver Nuggets, Kuzma rolled his right ankle on a shot attempt at the end of the third quarter. He was re-taped in the locker room, returned, was hobbled but effective.
Kuzma made three consecutive shots, including back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Lakers gain control in the fourth quarter. That was after scoring 16 points in the third. Kuzma played the entire quarter and Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he was due for rest regardless of the injury.
Upon returning to the bench, Kuzma was in his coach’s ear about being put back in the game. “I thought his competitive spirit was great all night,” Walton said.
“He couldn’t get a shot to go for him in the first half, until that last 0.9 shot (before halftime). I don’t care about that. It’s about him playing a certain way, and the last couple games he’s really done a nice job of giving everything he has to the game.
“He’s such a good scorer, eventually he’ll find his groove. And he did tonight for us. Showed a lot of toughness. We put him back in eventually and he helped us close out that game.”
The Lakers were visited by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Tuesday afternoon, which Walton pointed to as a possible influence for Kuzma. “Maybe it was The Rock that motivated him to fight through that injury like that,” he joked.
“Kuz was a big wrestling fan, so maybe he used his inner DJ to play through that pain.”
Kuzma walked out of the locker room with a noticeable limp, suggesting he won’t play. While the Lakers may find themselves without Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Kuzma, the Golden State Warriors will not have Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, David West and Patrick McCaw.
Klay Thompson is considered questionable, while Andre Iguodala and Jordan Bell are probable.