The Los Angeles Lakers held practice Friday in advance of traveling to Denver for a matchup with the Nuggets, and saw the return of Kyle Kuzma. The newly-minted Western Conference Rookie of the Month missed one game and one practice over the past two days due to back spams.
“It feels good,” Kuzma said of his back after going through practice. “I’m getting there (close to 100 percent). Did contact, so that’s a good thing.” The Lakers initially planned to limit how much activity the 22-year-old would go through.
But Kuzma showed an ability to play without limitations, which in turn led to the medical staff loosening the reigns. “I kept saying I was fine because I really want to play,” Kuzma said.
His insistence wasn’t a matter of simply wanting to return. “Kyle looked good. He was moving around well,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said.
“We were going to limit him in practice, but he did some phases before practice, as far as with the training staff, running and spot shooting. As he went through practice he felt fine and wanted to keep going.”
Kuzma suffered the injury — his first time experiencing back spasms — during a pregame routine before a matchup with the Golden State Warriors. “It was something really weird,” he said.
“I came off a screen to get into my shot, and it kind of popped a little bit. It just didn’t feel right. I went back to the locker room and it got tight. I tried to go, but it was too hard to move and stuff.”
The Lakers are set for a road-home back-to-back this weekend, and while Kuzma made more progress toward returning, there’s still some reservations.
“Obviously, we’ve got to get on a plane to Denver, so there’s always a chance it stiffens up again,” Walton said.
If that is to occur, Walton indicated the Lakers would hold Kuzma out on Saturday with the hope he would return against the Houston Rockets the following night.
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