5:03pm: While Kuzma’s recovery is said to be going well, the Lakers do expect him to miss the start of training camp, according to Stein, who labels the ailment a stress injury in Kuzma’s lower left leg (Twitter link).
9:54am: Kyle Kuzma‘s recovery from the foot injury that cost him a potential spot on Team USA’s World Cup roster has been slower than expected, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links). According to Stein, the Lakers increasingly fear that Kuzma won’t be ready for the start of training camp next week.
It was exactly one month ago that Kuzma was diagnosed with left ankle soreness, which resulted in him being the final player removed from Team USA’s roster before the 12-man squad was set. It appeared at the time to be a minor ailment, but the third-year forward is not yet back to 100%.
While Kuzma’s availability for the start of the regular season next month doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy at this point, the Lakers would presumably like to get him as many reps as possible with his new teammates before opening night, given how much turnover the roster underwent this summer. Of the 15 players expected to be on the regular season roster, only five – including Kuzma – were Lakers in 2018/19.
It will be a big year for Kuzma, who has talked about wanting to be the Lakers’ third star to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Eligible for a rookie scale extension in 2020, Kuzma recently hired CAA for representation, and according to Stein (via Twitter), also appears to be nearing a lucrative multiyear endorsement deal with Puma.
If Kuzma is unable to participate in camp, the Lakers will be down two frontcourt players — center DeMarcus Cousins is expected to be sidelined all season due to a torn ACL.