In the 125-103 win over the Washington Wizards, Kyle Kuzma suffered a left ankle injury but decided to play through the pain and discomfort for the next five games.
However, it was clear Kuzma was still dealing with the effects of the injury as he was only averaging 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 24.4 minutes in December.
As a result, the 24-year-old did not play against the Orlando Magic to start the team’s challenging five-game road trip.
With Kuzma currently considered day-to-day, he underwent a precautionary MRI and will not play against the Miami Heat now, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Kyle Kuzma (left ankle) remains out for the Heat game. Frank Vogel said Kuzma underwent a precautionary MRI which confirmed the ankle sprain. Vogel said Kuzma hasn’t been able to “get over the hump” with the ankle injury and the team wants to give him as much time needed to heal
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 13, 2019
To begin the 2019-20 NBA season, Kuzma has had to deal with his fair share of injuries but has only missed five games so far. As a result, it has been a challenge for him to find a rhythm while adjusting to a new role off the bench.
While Kuzma tried to push through the injury and deserves credit for that in today’s league, it is encouraging that he is resting. In order for the Lakers to achieve their goals, they need him to be relatively healthy when it matters the most.
When a healthy Kuzma eventually returns, the hope is he can establish himself as the team’s third option on offense.
Although all of the attention has been on the Lakers needing another wing defender such as Andre Iguodala, they have lacked a consistent third scorer when LeBron James or Anthony Davis have struggled. This is the perfect role for Kuzma, but he needs to be more consistent on both ends.