Lakers News: Kyle Kuzma's X-Ray on Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Clippers Negative

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 5, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 21: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors on January 21, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma suffered an ankle injury midway through the fourth quarter on Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers and would not return.

After the Lakers' 113-105 loss, coach Luke Walton told reporters an X-ray on Kuzma was negative, but he was "limping pretty badly" and is unlikely to play on Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets. Kuzma scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds before exiting.

The 23-year-old has averaged 18.9 points on 46.8 percent shooting and 5.6 rebounds for the Lakers. At his best, he is a dominant scorer with excellent range, such as when he dropped 41 points on 16-of-24 shooting (5-of-10 from the three-point line) in a win over the Detroit Pistons on January 9.

Drafted 27th overall in 2017, the second-year pro out of Flint, Michigan, and the University of Utah has been one of his rookie class' biggest steals.

Unfortunately, Kuzma has been sidelined by numerous injuries after the turn of the calendar year. A lower back contusion kept the former Ute out for two early January games, and a hip strain sidelined him for two more contests.

Los Angeles are now 30-34 in what has been a highly disappointing season. Without Kuzma, the team could turn to Mike Muscala to play power forward. The six-year veteran out of Bucknell has averaged 7.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game this season. The Philadelphia 76ers traded him to the Clippers, who then traded him to the Lakers, prior to the trade deadline.

Muscala is shooting a respectable 33.8 percent from deep, but the Lakers need Kuzma back as soon as possible to have any hope for a huge run to end the season. The Lakers are now 5.5 games back of the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.