UPDATE: The Lakers are expected to announce that Kyle Kuzma will miss the start of training camp this week, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
More on our AM story: The Lakers indeed expect Kyle Kuzma to miss the start of training camp as he continues to recover from a stress injury in his lower left leg, league sources say. The team will issue a formal update this week, with Kuzma's rehab said to be progressing well— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 24, 2019
The original story continues below.
Last month, USA Basketball sent Kyle Kuzma home because of an ankle injury that would have kept him out of the FIBA World Cup in China. With the World Cup now in the rearview and training camp set to tip off for the Lakers on Saturday, Kuzma still isn’t ready to return to the court, and there’s a chance he won’t be for a little while longer.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Lakers are starting to believe Kuzma’s injury will keep him sidelined for at least the start of training camp:
The Lakers increasingly fear Kuzma will not be ready for the start of training camp as his left foot continues to heal, league sources say. LA"s first two practices are Saturday— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 24, 2019
As one of the few returning players on the roster, Kuzma might not need training camp as much as some of the newer players, but being injured prevents him from competing for a starting job.
The overwhelming expectation is that the Lakers will roll out a starting lineup featuring Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee, which means there’s still one starting spot up for grabs. While it always was more likely that a defensive-minded guard is awarded that spot, there was a chance Kuzma forced Vogel’s hand with strong play in the preseason.
Now, it’s a near certainty that Kuzma will start the season on the bench and with the urgent need for continuity on the roster, it’s going to be hard for Kuzma to get back into the starting unit any time soon. That might not be the worst thing for the Lakers, who could use someone to spearhead the second unit, but it’s probably not how Kuzma saw his junior season going.
Hopefully Kuzma uses the next week to rest and is healthy by the time the Lakers officially open their season on Oct. 22 against the LA Clippers.