The injury wasn’t expected to be a long-term issue, but Vogel said Kuzma has yet to play a game where his ankle hasn’t bothered him, which led to the team’s decision to let him rest and heal.
Kyle Kuzma (left ankle) remains out for the Heat game. Frank Vogel said Kuzma underwent a precautionary MRI which confirmed the ankle sprain. Vogel said Kuzma hasn’t been able to “get over the hump” with the ankle injury and the team wants to give him as much time needed to heal— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 13, 2019
Frank Vogel said Kyle Kuzma had an MRI to check out his sprained ankle that's been bothering him. "He wasn’t getting over the hump of it getting better while playing on it, so we’re gonna take as long as we need to make sure it gets right."— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 13, 2019
Injuries are never good news, but it is sort of a relief to hear that Kuzma hasn’t been 100% at any point since his injury because his numbers reflect that. In Kuzma’s last five games, he’s averaged 9 points per game on 35.6% shooting from the field, 2.8 rebounds and an assist per game.
In Kuzma’s defense, he hasn’t been devoid of value — posting a +12.7 net rating during that time — but due to the discomfort in his ankle, he hasn’t been much of a threat off the dribble. If Kuzma was going to be nothing more than a spot up shooter for the Lakers on this road trip, he would have been only slightly more valuable for the team than Jared Dudley, who’s shooting 66.7% from behind the arc this season. By that same logic, the Lakers have the depth to let Kuzma heal properly, especially with Anthony Davis spending most of his time at the power forward position.
It hasn’t been a dream start to the season for Kuzma, so hopefully next time we see him on the court he’s fully healthy and ready to be the dynamic scorer the Lakers need him to be in the second unit.