Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma suffered a back contusion against the Okalahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a tough defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the young Lakers faltered at the end of the game as Russell Westbrook and Paul George willed Oklahoma City to a victory.
Without two of their leaders, defeating the Thunder would be a difficult task. Things got even more difficult in the second half without Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma has taken over as the to-go scorer with James sidelined and was excelling. However, he was struggling against the Thunder, shooting only 1-of-4 and scoring four points.
Lakers fans were hoping it was just a slow start for the second-year forward, but it turned out to be worse. Kuzma did not return to the court for the second half and it was revealed that he was dealing with a back injury.
He was unable to return to the court after the conclusion of the first half.
This injury could not come at a worse time for Los Angeles. Already without James and Rondo, adding Kuzma to that list would be crippling.
James and Kuzma are the Lakers’ leading scorers this season, so playing without both of them for any period of time would be difficult to overcome. Against Oklahoma City, Los Angeles managed only 43 points in the second half without them.
Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times revealed that Kuzma would be undergoing an MRI on his back today.
Hopefully, that MRI comes back clean. As Tanguli mentions, Kuzma attempted to play through the injury suffered in the first half but was unable to go.
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The injury Kuzma suffered being diagnosed as only a bruise would be a best-case scenario for the Lakers.
Kuzma is averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He has shown improvement in his playmaking, which has helped with James and Rondo sidelined.
Rondo will be sidelined a few more weeks, but James looks to be getting closer to a return. With a home game on deck against the New York Knicks, the Lakers should be able to handle them even shorthanded.
After that, Los Angeles heads on the road for two games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks.
Getting James and or Kuzma back for the road games will be important. In the super competitive Western Conference, the Lakers cannot afford to be without their two leading scorers for very long.
The Lakers currently sit in the eighth seed in the Western Conference, tied with the San Antonio Spurs and 1.5 games ahead of the Sacramento Kings. The longer James, Rondo and Kuzma are out, the tougher it will be for the Lakers to hold onto a playoff spot.
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