clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kyle Kuzma sits out of USA Basketball exhibition game against Australia with sore left ankle

New, comments

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma picked up an injury, so he played things safe by not playing as USA Basketball took on Australia in their second exhibition game of three they’ll play down under.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

United States v Australia Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was really good in the first game USA Basketball played against Australia, dropping 12 points off of the bench on 4-5 shooting from 3-point range.

He didn’t get the chance to see if he could repeat the feat on Friday night, however, as he and the team opted for him to sit out with what Team USA deemed “a sore left ankle” right before the game:

Kuzma not playing gives Lakers fans a lot less of a reason to watch the friendly, as it takes the chance to see Kuzma compete for one of the 12 spots on Team USA’s final roster off the table.

That noted, this is the right approach for Kuzma and the team to take. Playing for USA Basketball is a great way for Kuzma to spend the summer developing if he’s healthy, but the Lakers will need him intact for what they surely hope will be a long playoff run this year. There is no sense in jeopardizing that by suiting up for Team USA.

What will be worth monitoring is how this affects Kuzma’s approach to the rest of the tournament. He’s talked about how and why it’s so important to him to get the chance to represent his country in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but in a tournament in which players have used just about every excuse in the book to drop out and prepare for a wide-open NBA season, it just doesn’t make sense for Kuzma to push things if this isn’t an extremely minor injury.

Should he avoid getting cut and opt to remain with the team instead of seeking further rest back home, Kuzma will get his next chance to play for Team USA when they wrap up exhibition play with a game against Canada at 2:30 a.m. PT on Monday. That contest can be watched on NBA TV.

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.