WASHINGTON — Kyle Kuzma will miss his sixth consecutive game on Tuesday night when the Wizards host the Chicago Bulls, as the 6-foot-10 forward remains hampered by right knee tendinitis. He was a partial participant in the Wizards’ practice on Monday, but continues to be listed as day-to-day.
After the Wizards play the Bulls, they will only have seven games left on their schedule and their playoff hopes took a hit by a recent stretch of eight losses in nine games. No matter the stakes, the Wizards do not plan on shutting Kuzma down for the rest of the season due to his injury.
“No, we’re not. I think he’s in some legitimate discomfort and he’s trying to work through it,” head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “He’s getting the required treatments. I know he wants to be out there and we’ve just gotta make sure that it’s nothing more serious than what it is. He’s working through it… [and] there is full intention of him coming back and playing if he can.”
Unseld Jr. indicated Kuzma was close to returning before having a minor setback during a training session. As the coach described it, Kuzma worked out “a little too aggressively.”
By all accounts, Kuzma’s knee issue is a minor one, though tendinitis is sometimes chronic in nature. The Wizards believe there are benefits to having him play more games this season, as they hope to see more of him alongside Kristaps Porzingis and their other players who are expected to be back next year.
Kuzma, 26, has had a strong season overall, averaging 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 66 games. He’s generally been a durable player throughout his career, appearing in 89.6% of the total possible games in his first four seasons before arriving in Washington. If he didn’t play another game this season, it would be the lowest percentage of games he’s appeared in (80.5%).
Up until this injury, Kuzma had been one of the lone mainstays for the Wizards, who have experienced a lot of changing parts in their rotation between injuries, trades and COVID-19. Kuzma had two stints in protocols himself, but this is his longest absence of the season so far.