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Lakers' Kyle Kuzma Won't Play in Team USA vs. Australia Because of Ankle Injury

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 24, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUS - AUGUST 22: Kyle Kuzma #21 of Team USA handles the ball against the Australia Boomers on August 22, 2019 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. 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 Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Kyle Kuzma was held out of Team USA's exhibition game against Australia at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium due to a sore left ankle, USA Basketball announced.

The Los Angeles Lakers star scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three—including nine of the Americans' first 22 points—in the U.S.'s 102-86 win over Australia at Marvel Stadium on Thursday. 

Injury risk has been the main topic of discussion this summer surrounding NBA stars deciding whether to participate in the 2019 FIBA World Cup with Team USA. Notable stars to withdraw their names from consideration prior to training camp included Anthony Davis, James Harden, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Kevin Love. 

Since training camp began in Las Vegas, Kyle Lowry (thumb) and PJ Tucker (ankle) were forced to withdraw because of injury. 

Injuries aside, Kuzma seems to be reaping the benefits of Team USA thus far. Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell gave insight into how this summer could enhance the 2017 first-round pick's role with the Lakers:

"It was clear from observing Kuzma at last week's USA practices at L.A.'s UCLA Health Training Center that he's fully bought into what the coaching staff has been preaching, and how transferable that will be to the upcoming NBA season. Not forcing shots…canning 3's…cutting to the basket…working hard defensively…attacking the glass…those are all things that Lakers coach Frank Vogel will welcome with open arms as Kuz plays a key role supporting LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

"In fact, Kuzma may be the player who becomes most essential to step in and fill some of the void left in the wake of the torn ACL suffered by DeMarcus Cousins."

Should Kuzma's ankle injury prove to be a concern, however, he might be forced to pull out of the World Cup to focus on preparing for the 2019-20 NBA season.

The U.S. is scheduled to face Canada in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday as they continue to tune up for the World Cup beginning Aug. 31 in China.