While there was plenty of excitement surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers once they signed LeBron James, the front office and head coach Luke Walton tempered heightened expectations by highlighting the remade roster would need time to develop chemistry.
The Lakers have been snakebitten in that process, with suspensions and injuries intervening since the second game of the season. Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo were suspended four and three games, respectively, for their role in a fight with Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets.
Rondo then missed 17 games after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand. Rondo returned for just three games before requiring yet another surgery, this time for a torn ligament in his right ring finger that sustained a Grade 3 sprain.
Ingram missed seven games after suffering a left ankle sprain in the first quarter of the Dec. 5 game against the San Antonio Spurs. Meanwhile, James has missed the past four games because of a strained groin.
Now the Lakers face the prospect of not having Kyle Kuzma for a stretch of games. He was diagnosed with a lower back contusion on Wednesday night and didn’t return after checking out in the second quarter.
An MRI now confirms a lower back contusion and Kuzma is officially listed as questionable against the New York Knicks.
Kuzma finished the night with 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 3 steals in 16 minutes. He entered the night having scored in double-figures in 19 consecutive games. Kuzma averaged 22.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game during the month of December.
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