3:37pm: Kuzma’s MRI confirmed the diagnosis of a lower back contusion, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Having avoided a more serious injury, Kuzma will be listed as questionable for Friday’s game against New York.
10:10am: The Lakers‘ injury woes continued on Wednesday, as forward Kyle Kuzma left the team’s loss to Oklahoma City at halftime and didn’t return. Kuzma, who was diagnosed with a lower back contusion, is undergoing an MRI today to determine the extent of the injury, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com relays.
“He got hit somewhere in the game, something happened during the game,” head coach Luke Walton said. “You could notice he was starting to limp in those last couple minutes he was playing. He said he was fine. They worked on it at halftime; just said, ‘No go.'”
Los Angeles is already without a pair of key rotation players in LeBron James and Rajon Rondo. There has been no indication that James – who is dealing with a strained groin – is ready to return yet, and Rondo is expected to be sidelined for a few more weeks after undergoing hand surgery. As such, the Lakers will have to hope that the injury to Kuzma, who leads the team in total minutes, isn’t serious.
Kuzma is the Lakers’ second-leading scorer this season behind LeBron, averaging 18.3 PPG and 5.8 RPG on .472/.302/.780 shooting. If he has to miss time, players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart figure to be leaned on more heavily, while Lance Stephenson and Svi Mykhailiuk are among those who could see a bump in minutes.