After suffering a scary-looking eye injury on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kyle Kuzma practiced with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday and will suit up when the team takes on the Thunder again — this time in Oklahoma City — on Friday.
As far as we know, Kuzma won’t be on any type of minutes restriction, but he will have to wear protective eyewear until his eye fully heals. Kuzma’s new protective eyewear resembles a pair of glasses more than goggles, but that didn’t stop Kuzma from comparing himself to Lakers legend “Big Game” James Worthy, who famously wore goggles for most of his career after suffering a scratched cornea in 1985.
“I guess I’m James Worthy now.” Kuzma told reporters after practice on Thursday. “‘Big Game Kuz.’ I like how that sounds.”
It wasn’t the only glasses-related nickname he received:
While he’s yet to play a game with his protective gear, Kuzma himself hasn’t ruled out wearing the glasses for the rest of his career like Worthy did.
“We’ll see. Amare did it after he got hit pretty hard. I mean, it’s kind of serious. It could have been worse. Even now it’s kind of blurry, which is kind of scary. So I’m wearing them now for sure,” Kuzma said.
“I can see clearly (but) better safe than sorry.”
If Kuzma does decided to rock the glasses going forward, he’s already got the seal of approval from Worthy himself:
Kuzma said his vision became immediately blurry after he got scratched with what he believes was Darius Bazley’s fingernails, preceded by an elbow earlier in the game, and he said his vision still isn’t 100%. That being said, he had hoped to finish the game after suffering the eye abrasion on Tuesday.
“I tried to go back in... I was out for the whole second quarter and pretty much persuaded the training staff to go out and let me shoot at halftime,” Kuzma said. “But Frank [Vogel] was being precautious about my health. Sometimes I’m not. I’m a competitor... We made the right decision because I couldn’t even get it open the next day.”
“He very much wanted to play,” Vogel added, “and I decided to hold him out. Sometimes you have to do what’s in the best interests of the player, and that was the case here. He very much wanted to be back in the game.”
Kuzma and his goggles will take the floor against the Thunder at 5 p.m. PST on Friday. If he looks anything like Big Game used to on the court, he might never play a game without them again.