In recent years, the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled to stay healthy and this year has been no different, despite it being so early in the season. Before the season even started, they lost DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending ACL injury. They have also been without Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker stress reactions in their feet since the summer.
Fortunately, it sounds like they could be getting Kuzma and Horton-Tucker back relatively soon.
Before the Lakers tipped off against the Utah Jazz on Friday, Vogel said that Kuzma has increased his workload to halfcourt four-on-four and the expectation is that it will continue to progress as the week goes on.
“He’s going to be ramping things up,” Vogel said. “He played a little bit of 4-on-4 today live with coaches, which is the most he’s done, and got in some of shootaround in terms of just the shell vs. coaches. And reactive stuff, which is something he had not done yet. So he took a big step today, and hopefully we’ll continue to ramp that up.”
Vogel said that he expects Kuzma to have a big role once he returns to full health. Until then, the training staff will take their time with easing him back into things, especially with their light schedule at the start of November.
Kuzma has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets,
As for Horton-Tucker, it sounds like he’s a little father along than Kuzma, which makes sense because Horton-Tucker suffered his stress reaction at some point during the pre-draft process. Vogel said that Horton-Tucker could return to practice as soon as next week.
”Like Kuz, he’s continuing to progress with the intensity of his work. I think he’s been doing a little bit more half-court, live stuff, and I think he’s going to be cleared for practice next week, so hopefully we can ramp up his activity,” Vogel said.
Horton-Tucker, 18, isn’t expected to see a ton of playing time with the Lakers this season, but he will get playing time in the G League with the South Bay Lakers, who start their season on Nov. 9. Horton-Tucker was drafted with the No. 46 pick in this year’s draft.
Expect updates on both Kuzma and Horton-Tucker when the Lakers next practice on Monday.