Already without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Los Angeles Lakers lost Kyle Kuzma to a lower back contusion during the second quarter of last Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. There was a hope he would return but Kuzma was ruled out by the fourth quarter.
He was considered a game-time decision when the Lakers next played but wound up being told by the medical staff to remain at home and undergo treatment in lieu of making the drive to Staples Center. Kuzma traveled with the team and went through a pre-game workout last Sunday, only to miss another game.
The second-year forward did so again on Monday and that time was cleared to return. Kuzma wasn’t his usual self but helped contribute to a Lakers comeback win over the Dallas Mavericks in a game they fell behind by as many as 15 points.
He revealed his balky back gave him some trouble, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It was OK. It tightened up; that’s kind of how backs work, especially with spasms. You just never really know. I just tried to fight through it and help my team get a win.”
When asked if he would need to manage back discomfort moving forward or if he was close to putting the issue behind him, Kuzma said he’s hopeful for the latter:
“We’ll see. I haven’t necessarily dealt with something similar to this. It’s been progressing pretty well since last Wednesday, I think, and hopefully it’s going to get better tomorrow and hopefully by Wednesday (I’ll) be fine.”
Kuzma missed his first eight shots of the game but shook off the rough shooting night to give the Lakers a boost in the third quarter as they steadily chipped away at their deficit. He finished the night 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 37 minutes.
Although Kuzma didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, Lakers head coach Luke Walton felt his presence was instrumental and key for the team.
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