Already facing an uphill battle due to LeBron James and Rajon Rondo both being sidelined by injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers lost Kyle Kuzma for the second half of Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Friday’s matchup with the New York Knicks.
Kuzma was considered questionable with a lower back contusion heading into their final game on the homestand. He attended shootaround but received treatment in lieu of preparing for the Knicks.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton was hopeful the second-year forward would be available but Kuzma didn’t so much as make the trip to Staples Center.
“Originally, he was going to come here tonight and test it out, see how it felt, but it just wasn’t getting any looser or feeling any better,” Walton said. “So the training staff told him just to stay home and stay off his feet.
“He’s feeling a little better but we’ve got a tough schedule coming up and he’s really tight still. We’re hopeful if it keeps going like this, we can have him for the road trip.”
After another loss that dropped them to 1-4 in games James, Kuzma or Rondo do not play in, the Lakers are now set to hit the road for games with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers have split two matchups thus far with the Timberwolves and won both meetings against the Mavericks.
But those came with James, who was ruled out from the road trip because of a strained groin and won’t be re-evaluated until Friday.
Kuzma averaged 22.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game during December. Excluding his early exit against the Thunder, he scored in double-figures in 19 consecutive games.
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