The Los Angeles Lakers’ injury woes grew on Wednesday as Kyle Kuzma participated in a portion of practice before receiving treatment on his hip. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo has not yet been cleared to return, and LeBron James remains out for Thursday’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Hopefully he’s fine,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said of Kuzma. I haven’t seen him or talked to the trainers. He went in there to get treatment early into practice. I’ll get an update on him when I get done out here.”
The Lakers cleared Rondo last weekend for full-contact in practice, which was followed by the veteran point guard playing in multiple scrimmages. Walton said after Monday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors that he was optimistic Rondo would play against the Timberwolves.
“I’ve been feeling like I’m going to play the last couple weeks,” Rondo said after practice. “But we’re still taking it day-by-day, so we’ll see how I feel in the morning when I wake up.”
One minor hurdle for Rondo has been a tendency to protect against contact on his right finger/hand. “I haven’t had much contact,” he explained. “It’s like I have a red jersey, or quarterback jersey on (in practices). It will be different in the game.”
Although there might be a natural indication or pressure to return, given Lonzo Ball has now been lost for four to six weeks because of a sprained ankle, Rondo is prioritizing his health. “I’ve got to come back when I’m healthy,” he said.
“Things happen for a reason, I don’t know why, but I can’t come back depending on whether other guys are out or not.”
Rondo has generally moved past the point of pain in his right ring finger, save for when he wakes up in the morning. “It’s just stiff. Once I do about an hour and a half worth of work on it, it feels a lot better,” he explained.
As for James, his work was again limited to non-contact. “He got out there and did some drills,” Walton said.
“With him and Rondo, we’ll see how they’re feeling [Thursday] morning and kind of take it from there. See how he’s doing the next day after that and the next day. Whenever they’re physically ready to play then they’ll play.”
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