In a season full of setbacks for Kyle Kuzma, the latest one is somewhere between minor and concerning.
Perhaps lost in the busy holiday weekend, the third-year forward exited the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Washington Wizards with a left ankle injury on Friday. He received encouraging news after an X-ray and ended up playing Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.
The good news is the injury didn't sideline Kuzma, who's missed five games this year. But he didn't make a positive impact, either.
During the 114-100 loss to the Mavericks, he mustered four points and one rebound in 21 minutes, misfiring on all five three-pointers and finishing 1-of-8 overall. Kuzma posted a minus-15 rating.
Considering the nature of his injury, criticizing him for a sluggish performance isn't entirely fair. At the same time, if he's active and available, it's reasonable to say he needs to produce.
Kuzma should benefit from a day off before the Lakers have three games on the road in four nights. They'll meet the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz for a back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday, then challenge the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are fully capable of carrying the Lakers, but a healthy Kuzma is a valuable player.
Bradley Beal Comments on Lakers Rumors
As the Wizards trudged to a 32-50 record last season, Bradley Beal found himself the subject of many trade discussions.
Can the Lakers swing a deal? What will Washington demand? Might we see a megadeal involving Beal and Davis? Given the team's messy salary situation, will he—like Davis—force a trade?
All those questions ended with Beal staying with the organization and eventually signing a two-year max contract extension. He stuck with Washington as Davis headed to the Lakers and both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined the Los Angeles Clippers.
After Friday's matchup between the Lakers and Wizards, reporters posed a different question: Have you ever thought about what could have been?
"I'm good. They made their own decisions," Beal said, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. "At the end of the day, there's no guarantee you'll win a championship by jumping ship. Only one team wins. When it came down to my decision making, I really factored that in. It looks great, but the grass isn't always greener."
The Lakers surely would've wanted to add the All-Star guard, but acquiring Davis has worked out perfectly fine too.
Avery Bradley Injury Update
Barring an unexpected change, Kuzma will be available throughout the Lakers' three-game road trip. Avery Bradley, however, will remain sidelined for a while longer.
Bradley hasn't played since November 13, so his absence will reach at least 12 games.
The Lakers will likely continue leaning on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as Bradley's replacement in the starting lineup. The 26-year-old needs to shake a cold streak, though; KCP has just 16 points despite playing 82 minutes in the last three games.
Bradley's return will provide a much-needed boost on the defensive end and push KCP back to a reserve role.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.