After missing all of preseason with a stress reaction he suffered while with Team USA, Kyle Kuzma has been cleared for non-contact practice, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel announced before the team tipped off against the Golden State Warriors on Monday.
This is a crucial step for Kuzma, who will hope to be ready for the Lakers’ regular season opener against the LA Clippers on Tuesday, Oct. 22. However, before he can get back into the lineup, he needs to be cleared for full-contact practice, and Vogel will likely want to see him get a few practices in before activating him. As to if Kuzma could feasibly be ready to go by the opener, Vogel demurred.
“We’ll see. It’s gonna be day-by-day with him, and we’ll see how he responds to the increased workload and treatment,” Vogel said.
In other words, it’s far from a sure thing that Kuzma will be ready to go in a week, and even if he is, the training staff could play it safe because of how light the schedule will be to start the season.
For now, Kuzma will be listed as day-to-day, according to Vogel.
Thankfully, even with Kuzma out, the Lakers are expected to have some depth at forward for their regular season opener. While LeBron James and Anthony Davis will rest against the Golden State Warriors on Monday, there’s optimism that they’ll both be ready to go next week, especially after the news that Davis’ MRI came back clean. Jared Dudley is also set to make his Lakers debut on Monday, while Vogel said that Davis is day-to-day.
“We’re still collecting medical information,” Vogel said of Davis. “I don’t think there’s a time frame. It’s just as soon as we can get it. We’re piecing it together now, and then we’ll have an update.”
Having Kuzma and Davis back on the court and getting them acclimated with all of the new personnel on the team would be beneficial for the Lakers in the short-term, but their long-term health is what all parties involved should be concerned with. If Kuzma or Davis aren’t ready to go on opening night, there’s no reason for him to force it.
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