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Lakers are ‘hopeful’ Kyle Kuzma can return against Knicks on Monday

The Lakers will be missing both Marc Gasol and Kyle Kuzma when they take on the Brooklyn Nets.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Scott Audette/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyle Kuzma (left calf strain) and Marc Gasol (left hamstring soreness) will both be out when the Lakers face the Nets on Saturday night, head coach Frank Vogel revealed during his pregame availability. Both were listed as questionable for the game. They will join Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Jared Dudley as out due to injury.

Alex Caruso — the only other name on the injury report — is available to play, while Wesley Matthews was a late scratch:

Vogel revealed that Gasol was actually hurt while playing bigger minutes than expected against the Toronto Raptors, and that the injury kept him out against the Miami Heat, meaning he was not a DNP-CD (Coach’s Decision) as previously thought. In the case of Kuzma — who had already been announced to have an injury prior to Thursday’s game — Vogel says the organization is optimistic he won’t be out too much longer. An MRI previously revealed Kuzma had a Grade 1 calf strain.

“It’s mild, but it is concerning enough for the medical team to want to keep him out another game,” Vogel said. “We were hopeful that he was going to be ready for tonight, but he just needs a couple days. We’re hopeful he plays against New York.”

Resting Kuzma for a game that probably wasn’t winnable anyway and allowing him to return against a more beatable opponent is also probably a smart play here. With this game off and Sunday to rest before Monday’s game against the Knicks, Kuzma will have had five total days to rest his calf before returning to the court, if he does indeed suit up next game.

And while Gasol being out likely doesn’t affect the rotation much as Andre Drummond had supplanted him as the starter, with Kuzma out, expect Talen Horton-Tucker, Alfonzo McKinnie and Ben McLemore to all see an increase in minutes on the wing.

The Lakers and Nets will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. PT on ABC. Voluntarily subject yourself to this game at your own peril.

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