Anthony Davis is one of the Los Angeles Lakers‘ star players but as talented as the Chicago native is on the court, he’s been highly unlucky when it comes to injuries and has missed many NBA games over the years due to various injuries.
Here’s what you need to know about Anthony Davis’ injury history:
1. Anthony Davis Was Plagued With Injuries During His First 4 Seasons in the NBA
Davis’ bad luck with injuries began soon into his NBA career as he suffered a concussion in just his second game with the New Orleans Pelicans and had to miss a week, the Chicago Tribune reported. He was accidentally elbowed in the head by his teammate Austin Rivers and had to leave the game.
On November 20, 2012, Davis picked up a “stress reaction” on his left ankle and it caused him to miss 11 games. Later that season, Davis suffered a sprained left shoulder on February 27, 2013, after a collision with Brook Lopez. Fortunately, he only missed two games due to the sprain.
Davis’ rookie season then ended three games early when he suffered another injury on April 10, 2013, this time a left knee medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain, according to CBS Sports. In total, Davis appeared in 64 games in his rookie NBA season out of a possible 82.
AD’s injury woes continued in his sophomore season with the New Orleans Pelicans, as he picked up two significant injuries in the 2013-14 season. On December 1, 2013, Davis suffered a fractured hand as reported by ESPN and ended up missing seven games. In February 2014, he dislocated his left index finger and in another incident he sprained his left shoulder, both injuries prompting the power forward to miss more games.
Davis finished his second NBA season early as well due to back spasms. The injury, which would prove to be a recurring issue for Davis, caused him to miss the last five games of the season. Davis appeared in a total of 67 games out of 82.
Davis played 68 regular-season games in the next season with the Pelicans. He began his third NBA season in 2014-15 with a healthy run but suffered a sprained toe, a sprained shoulder and a sprained ankle in separate incidents between January and March 2015, Sports Illustrated reported.
Davis was also forced to skip the 2015 NBA All-Star Game because of the shoulder sprain. However, Davis played in the Pelicans’ four playoff games in 2015 as the team was swept in the first round by the eventual champions, the Golden State Warriors.
His fourth year in the NBA was a difficult one in which Davis played only 61 games out of a possible 82. He was ruled out of the 2015-16 season on March 20 due to a left knee injury and a torn labrum in his left shoulder, as ESPN reported. Earlier in the season, he’d suffered a sprained left toe, hip strain and another concussion.
2. Anthony Davis Had a Couple of Healthy Seasons With the New Orleans Pelicans Followed by a Final Season With the Team With More Injury Struggles
Despite his injury struggles in his first four NBA seasons, Davis followed them up with two back-to-back healthy seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. In both seasons, he played 75 games and avoided sitting out long stretches due to injuries.
In addition to playing 75 regular-season games in 2017-18, Davis competed with the Pelicans in the playoffs, with the team winning the first round in a 4-0 sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. In the second round, the Pelicans lost to Golden State Warriors in five games. Despite suffering some injuries in the season, including a rib contusion, Davis managed to keep playing.
On the heels of those two seasons, Davis was back to a series of missed games in the 2018-2019 season, his final one with the Pelicans. In January 2019, he suffered a finger sprain and missed several weeks, part of it due to controversy over his public decision to request a trade from the team.
3. Anthony Davis Had a Good First Season With the Los Angeles Lakers But Had Multiple Significant Injuries in the 2020-21 Season
Davis had a great first season with the Lakers, which was also his championship season, and he appeared in 62 out of 71 regular-season games as well as every playoff game.
Unfortunately for the NBA star, the following season was his worst so far in terms of injuries. In the 2020-21 season, Davis only appeared in 36 out of 72 games due to injuries to his calf and his Achilles heel. On February 15, 2021, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Davis underwent an MRI that revealed “a calf strain and a re-aggravation of the right Achilles tendinosis.”
A few months later, Davis reflected on his Achilles injury and shared that he originally thought it would be much more serious. “I felt pain there before going through the process of the first time I injured it, but the second time, I hate to say it, I never tore an Achilles, but I kind of felt like sharp pain and like it was ripping kind of, which I never felt before,” he said, according to Lakers Nation.
“The pressure was tough to put on flex in and everything like that,” he continued. “Flex my foot and things like that. It was very painful, so I knew it was something serious. It wasn’t as serious as it could’ve been, but it was still pretty significant injury.”
Davis appeared in the first round of the playoffs but struggled with a groin injury during some of the games, which caused him to miss Game 5 and the majority of Game 6, as Sports Illustrated reported.
4. Anthony Davis Has Missed Many Games in the Last 2 Seasons With the Lakers Due to Injuries
Unfortunately for Davis, the Lakers star appeared just as injury prone in the 2021-22 season as the previous one. In total, the power forward was only able to play 40 of the team’s 82 regular-season games.
Davis’ misfortune began with the first game of the season when a fever forced him to sit out the game. Soreness in his knee caused him to miss a couple more games followed by an MCL sprain in his left knee that forced him to miss 17 contests. Just a few weeks after his return, he injured his right ankle and missed another 18 games.
In the ongoing 2022-23 season, Davis missed 20 games due to a right foot injury. He returned to the court on January 25, 2023. Since then, he’s had some issues with a stress injury in the same foot but has been playing in most of the Lakers games, having most recently missed their matchup on March 1, 2023.
5. Anthony Davis Has Fired Back at Critics Over His Injury Record & Said His Injuries Aren’t Due to a Fitness & Training Issue
Davis has been the butt of many complaints from fans and criticism from analysts over his issues with remaining healthy. In fact, former NBA star and current analyst Charles Barkley has gone so far as to nickname Davis “Street Clothes.”
However, Davis said he wasn’t letting it get to him and told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t care what he says. People say stuff for ratings. Like, they got to push their show, push their blog, push their podcast, whatever it is. So, people got to say something to bring in viewers. It is what it is. I go out there and play basketball and let them do their job. My job is to hoop. Their job is to talk about me.”
It’s not the first time AD has hit back at criticisms over his fitness. After missing half of the 2021-22 season with his MCL sprain and ankle injury, he told ESPN, “Unfortunately it was two injuries I couldn’t control this year but I’ll be back at it next year and see what happens.” He said he wasn’t injury prone but simply unlucky as both injuries were not caused by his own actions.
“Someone falls into my leg, sprains my MCL,” he said. In terms of his ankle injury, he explained, “I fall on someone’s foot and twist my ankle really bad — well, my foot, really badly. I can’t control that.”
He then said it wasn’t an issue with his offseason training and called his training “top tier.” The Chicago native explained that his injuries weren’t caused by him being out of shape but were due to situations out of his control.
In fact, he shared that doctors told him if he hadn’t been in great shape, both those injuries could have been a lot worse, such as ligament tears in his knee instead of sprains. “So it’s a positive for me, knowing that I put in a lot of work this summer and I prevented catastrophic injuries from happening to my body,” he explained.