The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that Kyle Kuzma will practice with the team on Thursday and play in their road matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday after he suffered an eye abrasion against the Thunder on Tuesday.
Kuzma suffered the injury after taking an elbow to the eye from Thunder rookie Darius Bazley while the ball was live. While it was clear Bazley was just trying to get past Kuzma, the aftermath looked like something out of a horror movie. Thankfully for Kuzma and the Lakers, it looked a lot scarier than it actually was.
The Lakers were able to come out on top of the Thunder 112-107 in spite of Kuzma missing most of the second quarter and the entirety of the second half. Kuzma ended his night with 5 points on 2-4 shooting from the field, ending his streak of games in double figures at five.
Hopefully the effects of Kuzma’s eye abrasion don’t slow him down too much, because he’s playing some of the best basketball of his career right now.
In the five games leading up to Tuesday’s game with the Thunder, Kuzma was averaging 18 points per game on 50% shooting from the field, including 46.9% from 3-point range on three attempts per game. He also contributed 4.8 rebounds per game and posted a box plus-minus of +4.8 during that stretch.
It’s still unclear how Kuzma fits in a closing lineup with LeBron James and Anthony Davis with how well Dwight Howard has played, but he’s made as strong of a case as anyone so far. As long as at least one of his eyes are functioning, there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to do that.