EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — There was a report on Tuesday that Kyle Kuzma was progressing in his rehabilitation from a stress reaction in his left foot and could be expected to play early next week, so maybe the news that head coach Frank Vogel delivered after Wednesday’s Lakers practice wasn’t super surprising. Still, it’s worth noting that Kuzma has been ruled out for Friday’s game against the Utah Jazz, and that it’s not 100 percent clear when exactly he’ll return.
“I don’t know. We’re taking it day-to-day with him and seeing how he responds to the increased activity each day, but he’s not going to play Friday,” Vogel said.
During the portion of practice that the media was allowed to observe, Kuzma was doing 5-on-0 work with Rajon Rondo, Zach Norvell Jr. and Kostas Antetokounmpo, but it was all still non-contact.
Meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma and Rondo were working off to the side with Phil Handy, THT, Norvell and Kostas pic.twitter.com/hZbVEKJuXr— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 23, 2019
I asked Vogel if this was progress for Kuzma, and he said he was fairly certain it was a step forward.
“I’d have to talk my medical team about that. I know he’s been doing some 5-on-0 stuff, I don’t know what the totality of it is. It’s probably more than he’s been (doing) before, yes,” Vogel said.
The Lakers don’t seem to be rushing Kuzma back — which is smart, given how much they need him as a secondary playmaker and scorer. They also shouldn’t be risking his long-term health to get him back a few games sooner, and seemingly won’t. But given that Kuzma still hasn’t practiced with contact and will need to do that a few times before returning, him coming back to the lineup doesn’t seem to be imminent. As much as he’ll help, don’t start holding your breath just yet. All indications are that the Lakers are going to be careful with him.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.