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Lakers may shut Kyle Kuzma down for final games with sore ankles

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 23: Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after his third three pointer during a 108-107 win over the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on January 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Back on March 13, Kyle Kuzma sprained his right ankle against Denver. He missed just one game, but has played through some pain since.

Friday night against Minnesota, Kuzma tweaked his left ankle and did something he rarely does, asking out of the game. While postgame X-rays were negative, the question is will the Lakers play him in their final three ultimately meaningless regular season games?

Maybe. From Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Kuzma may have to rest his ankles although he typically tries to play through injuries. “I tried to move and push around [on the left ankle in the third quarter] but it is kind of hard to move around on two flat tires,” Kuzma said about trying to play through the latest ankle injury in the third quarter before being ruled out of the game. “My body feels great. At the end of the day, it is just my ankles. I can’t tell you anything right now [about playing in the final three games]... [this latest ankle injury is] just really throbbing. [It’s] a little different than my last one. My last one was an inside sprain. This is an outside sprain.”

There is no reason to risk anything worse happening — sprained ankles are easy to re-injure and make worse — and setting back his off-season work.

Kuzma has had an impressive rookie campaign — 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds a game, shooting 36.6 percent from three — that is going to land him on the NBA All-Rookie team (probably first team). He’ll probably even get a few third-place Rookie of the Year votes. Going into Summer League and the NBA season he was not the hyped Laker rookie, but he was decisive and aggressive from day one, not playing like a rookie at all. He is going to be part of their core going forward.

That is more important than a few games at the end of a non-playoff season.