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Kyle Kuzma will not play vs. Miami Heat, Frank Vogel says Lakers won’t rush him back

The Lakers plan to let Kyle Kuzma take the time he needs to make a full recovery.

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Kuzma will not suit up when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Miami Heat on Thursday, head coach Frank Vogel announced at shootaround.

Kuzma missed Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic due to a nagging ankle sprain he suffered against the Washington Wizards last month. Kuzma has now missed six games this season.

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.

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.

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