Kyle Kuzma spent a small portion of the 2019 NBA offseason not with the Los Angeles Lakers, but with Team USA prepping for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
However, Kuzma sadly had to remove himself from the roster after it was discovered he had an ankle injury which — at the time — appeared to be nothing serious.
Since then, it has been revealed that his ankle injury is actually a stress reaction, something that may sideline him for a majority of 2019 NBA training camp.
Kuzma’s injury may not be enough to keep him out of regular season games beginning on Oct. 22, but it will be something the Lakers have to keep a close eye on. And while it’s a major bummer Kuzma could not participate in China, the thought of a severe ankle injury would be enough to make sure he doesn’t put any added stress on himself.
Kuzma expressed his disappointment in not being able to represent his country, while also being grateful that he caught the ankle injury early enough to start his rehab process.
“At first, I was disappointed because at the time I was with USA Basketball. And as you guys know, I’ve said it a couple of times, but that’s been one of my dreams to put that jersey on and obviously I was disappointed because I couldn’t continue with the team,” Kuzma said about his time with Team USA.
“But, at the same time, it was good that we caught what I have at the right time. So it is serious, but it’s not serious. It’s all about just rehabbing and getting back to it, progressing well. I’m thirsty to get back out there with my teammates.”
It’s likely difficult for Kuzma to sit and watch while his teammates begin officially practicing together for the first time, building a system that he’ll have to be implemented into later.
Luckily for him, Kuzma’s place in the rotation is solidified. At worst, he’ll be a sixth man getting significant minutes and should play in all fourth quarters.
For Kuzma, the next three weeks are just about getting healthy so that he can play when the Lakers take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Opening Night. The Clippers will be without Paul George, so being fully healthy will be key for the Lakers. Hopefully, once Kuzma’s healthy, he’ll be able to fit right back into head coach Frank Vogel’s system.