Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma’s time as a member of Team USA came to an abrupt end on Saturday as a result of an ankle injury.
On Sunday morning, Kuzma expressed his regrets for not being able to play, though he remained confident about the team’s chances in the FIBA World Cup.
Bummer couldn’t finish my time with @usabasketball but that team will be just fine! Excited to get healthy & back to LA and get ready for the real show get ready‼️😜 LA📍
— kuz (@kylekuzma) August 25, 2019
Kuzma appeared to have no issues in the first game in Australia on Thursday, scoring 12 points in the 102-86 win over the Australian national team. All of his points came on 3-pointers after making four of his five shots from beyond the arc.
However, prior to Saturday’s game, Kuzma informed Team USA’s head coach Gregg Popovich of soreness in his ankle. With the team still needing to cut one player to get down to the FIBA roster limit of 12, the decision was made to send Kuzma home.
In Saturday’s game, Team USA suffered their first loss since 2006, dropping a 98-94 decision to Australia. The stunning upset snapped a 78-game winning streak and came against a team that was ranked by FIBA as the 11th-best men’s team in the world.
From the Lakers’ perspective, Kuzma’s return will give him nearly a month to rehabilitate his ankle injury. It’s also a small bit of positive bit of news in a month that’s already seen the devastating injury to new acquisition DeMarcus Cousins.