Lakers' Kyle Kuzma Won't Play in FIBA World Championships with Ankle Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUS - AUGUST 22: Kyle Kuzma #21 of Team USA high-fives fans on the way to the court before the game 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)
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Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma will miss the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup with Team USA because of an ankle injury.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com reported the update Saturday.

Kuzma informed team officials his left ankle was sore ahead of the Americans' exhibition game against Australia on Saturday, so he was held out for "precautionary reasons," according to the Associated Press.

The Boomers scored a 98-94 upset victory over Team USA with the Lakers star unavailable.

Kuzma tallied 12 points on the strength of four three-pointers in Thursday's 102-86 win over the Aussies. His departure leaves the team's patchwork roster, which has been severely hurt by numerous superstars backing out in recent months, at 12 players.

The Boston Celtics tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown should both see additional minutes to fill the void.

Kuzma averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists across 70 appearances for the Lakers last season. He's expected to take on a key role behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis as L.A. looks to push toward championship contention during the 2019-20 campaign.

"I feel like I'm up for it," Kuzma told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times last week about being expected to shine for both the national team and the Lakers.

It doesn't sound like a serious injury, so it shouldn't impact his availability for the NBA season, but it's another setback for a Team USA squad already lacking star power.