The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten through two games to begin the 2019-20 NBA season, a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Opening Night and a commanding win over the Utah Jazz in the home opener — without a major rotation player in Kyle Kuzma.
While both have missed substantial periods of time, it appears both are nearing a return to practice. Kuzma was able to participate in a live four-on-four with assistant coaches, meaning the next step is likely being cleared for full five-on-five runs with full practices to follow, according to head coach Frank Vogel.
“He’s going to be ramping things up. He played a little bit of four-on-four today live with coaches, which is the most he’s done … He took a big step today and hopefully we continue to ramp it up,” Vogel said prior to the team’s 95-86 win over the Jazz.
As for Horton-Tucker, his return is even more imminent as he’s on pace to be cleared for practice as early as next week.
“Like Kuz, he’s continuing to progress with the intensity of his work … He’s going to be cleared for practice next week, so hopefully we can ramp up his activity,” Vogel shared.
If Horton-Tucker is cleared for practice next week, he could be ready for games shortly after that. His length and defensive prowess could be useful for the Lakers on the perimeter as they lack depth in the perimeter defense category.
Kuzma seems to be a bit farther, which means the Lakers will have to learn to live without him.
After their win against the Jazz, it seems very doable, especially when considering the fact the team’s schedule fares much easier now.