After Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers ran the Memphis Grizzlies out of Staples Center on Tuesday, the team announced that there would be no practice on Wednesday, putting the prospect of Kyle Kuzma making his regular season debut on Friday against the Dallas Mavericks in doubt. However, not all hope is lost yet.
According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, Kuzma will instead continue his rehab with the Lakers’ G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, on Wednesday:
Some minor news on the Kyle Kuzma front: the plan is for him to practice with the South Bay Lakers tomorrow (Los Angeles Lakers are off) as he works toward returning to the court. He's going on the road trip and the Lakers are hoping to get him back during it.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) October 30, 2019
Kuzma has ramped up his workload over the past few days — doing increments of four-on-four workouts — but he’s yet to go through a full-contact practice. The hope is that he can get at least one in before the Lakers go on the road for five days with stops in Dallas, San Antonio and Chicago.
If Kuzma goes through Wednesday’s practice with the South Bay Lakers and Thursday’s practice with the Lakers without any sign of discomfort during or after the workout, it’s possible that he’ll make his regular season debut on Friday in Dallas. However, right now the concern with Kuzma isn’t his foot — it’s his conditioning.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kuzma is “essentially 100% healthy,” but the 23-year-old forward needs to work his way back into game shape before he can make his regular season debut. Kuzma hasn’t played a five-on-five game of basketball since August, and even that was just an exhibition game.
Obviously Lakers fans are eager to see how Kuzma — the team’s second-leading scorer last season — fits in with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but there’s no sense in rushing him back if he’s not ready to play meaningful minutes. If that means him sitting out a game or two more, that’s okay.
We’ll know more about Kuzma’s availability closer to Friday, but the plan for now is for him to travel with the team to Texas and go from there.