After successfully going through a full practice with the South Bay Lakers on Wednesday, Kyle Kuzma will make his season debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday against the Dallas Mavericks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Kuzma has been sidelined with a stress reaction in his left foot since August.
The team has yet to officially update his status, but Kuzma sent out a tweet minutes after the report all but confirming he’ll be playing on Friday:
Kuzma teased his return earlier in the day:
Kuzma is expected to play a big role for the Lakers this season, but he’s not expected to play big minutes upon his return. According to Charania, Kuzma will be “eased” back into the rotation, which suggests the 24-year-old will be on a minutes restriction initially.
Still, even in limited minutes, head coach Frank Vogel will get a feel for which units Kuzma looks best with. Logic suggests that Kuzma will thrive as a third option to the superstar forward tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the hope is that he’ll also take charge of the offense when James and Davis are on the bench.
Kuzma has already established himself as a go-to scorer in his two-year career, but in order to maximize his potential as a sixth man, he needs to build on the flashes as a playmaker he showed at the tail-end of last season. If he can do that, his deficiencies on the defensive end won’t matter as much as they did last season, especially if he’s always going to be sharing the front court with one of Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
Vogel will likely give an official update on Kuzma’s availability after practice on Thursday. If not Thursday, then Friday before tip-off.