LOS ANGELES — Kyle Kuzma has an eye abrasion and will undergo further testing either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, according to the Lakers. The team says a further update will be provided on Wednesday, but head coach Frank Vogel said after the game that Kuzma was cleared to come back in during the team’s 112-107 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“He was available. The medical team said if we really needed him we could put him back in. I used my better judgement. It didn’t look good, and I just felt like unless we absolutely needed him, let’s let the other guys handle the rest of the game,” Vogel said.
Kuzma left the game during the second quarter after getting inadvertently poked in the eye by Thunder guard Darius Bazley, and appeared to be bleeding from his eye — or the area around it — as he jogged down the tunnel to the locker room with the medical staff. Kuzma had played just nine minutes at that point, and finished the game with 5 points and 1 turnover.
Kuzma had been making 46.4% of his threes over the Lakers’ last five games, and was just starting to appear to rediscover his rhythm offensively following a slow start when he came back from the stress reaction in his foot earlier this month. Any time lost for him would be a blow for the team — and would likely mean more minutes for Jared Dudley, among others — but his teammate Alex Caruso doesn’t expect Kuzma to miss much time.
“His eye is a little beat up, but that’s part of the game and the process of playing 82. Eventually you’re going to get caught with an elbow or a knee,” Caruso said. “But Kuz is tough and resilient, so he’ll bounce back.”
The Lakers will not practice on Wednesday, giving Kuzma at least one extra day to let his eye heal before the earliest time he could even theoretically return to the court.
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.