Kyle Kuzma will miss at least the first three games of the preseason with a stress reaction in his left foot, the Los Angeles Lakers announced on Thursday. Kuzma suffered the injury — initially billed as ankle soreness — while he was competing for a spot on Team USA’s FIBA Basketball World Cup roster.
According to the team, Kuzma is scheduled to undergo an MRI once the Lakers return from their preseason games in China on Oct. 13. Until then, there is no timetable for his return.
Kuzma’s absence in the preseason will obviously be a big blow for a new team hoping to build some semblance of synergy as soon as possible, especially when you consider Kuzma will likely be playing the third-most minutes on the team next season. However, it’s more important that Kuzma is healthy for the long, 82-game NBA regular season schedule and, hopefully, a deep playoff run.
If Kuzma’s recovery time leaks into the regular season, they should be able to stay afloat without him for at least a little while. Not only do the Lakers have good depth at the power forward position between Anthony Davis and Jared Dudley, but they also have a fairly easy schedule to start the season.
Of the first 20 games the Lakers will play in the regular season, only seven of them will be against opponents that made the playoffs last season. Of those seven teams, a few of them aren’t projected to be as strong as they were last season, most notably the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors.
Obviously the hope is that Kuzma doesn’t miss anywhere near 20 games, but they’re in a relatively good position if he needs longer to recover.