Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma will be sidelined until at least mid-October with a stress reaction in his left foot, the Lakers announced Thursday.
Kuzma is still planning to travel with the Lakers for their preseason games in China, but will have an MRI examination after the team returns on Oct. 13. The Lakers play the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai on Oct. 10 and in Shenzhen on Oct. 12.
This injury happened when Kuzma was training this summer with Team USA. Before the injury he was expected to earn a spot on the American team participating in the FIBA World Cup. In his last game with the team, he scored 12 points, making four of five three-pointers, for Team USA in an exhibition win over Australia.
A stress reaction is a precursor to a stress fracture with the former typically healing faster.
Heading into his third NBA season, the Lakers value Kuzma a great deal.
They drafted him with the 27th pick in 2017, after selecting Lonzo Ball second overall. Kuzma’s transition to the NBA netted quicker results than did Ball’s. Kuzma averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a rookie. Last season, he started in 68 of the 70 games he played. Kuzma averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while earning the esteem of new teammate LeBron James.
While former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was willing to include Kuzma in a failed deal for Anthony Davis at the trade deadline, the organization refused to trade him this summer.
Instead general manager Rob Pelinka parted with three future first-round picks, the right to swap another, a second-round pick and four players they had selected in the first round — Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Moe Wagner — to acquire Davis.
Consequently, Kuzma is the only first-round pick drafted by the Lakers who still plays for them. The only other draft pick still on the team is Talen Horton-Tucker, whom the Lakers drafted in the second round of this year’s draft. Horton-Tucker is also sidelined until after the Lakers return from China because of a stress reaction in his right foot, which was discovered during the pre-draft combine in May.
The Lakers will host their annual media day on Friday and open training camp on Saturday.