Anthony Davis appears to be trending in the right direction in his recovery from a foot injury but the Los Angeles Lakers are still not ready to put a timeline on his return.
Davis missed his 13th consecutive game on Monday as the banged-up Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets 122-109. Along with Davis, LeBron James, Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. were also sidelined.
Some positive news on Davis emerged prior to the matchup, with Dave McMenamin of ESPN reporting that the All-Star big man would be ramping up his rehab upon the Lakers’ return to LA. Davis is dealing with a bone spur fractured off the navicular bone in his right foot, as well as a stress reaction.
“The ramp-up process will involve aquatic pool workouts and running on an altered-gravity treadmill to keep the big man’s full weight off his foot while it continues to heal,” McMenamin reported. “There is optimism within the Lakers that the ramp-up process could take only a couple of weeks before Davis could start penciling in a potential return to game action, sources told ESPN.”
Darvin Ham confirmed that Davis would be ramping up his rehab but was still not willing to put a timeline on his return.
“He will start tomorrow once we arrive back home. there are different benchmarks built within the process of the coming weeks. If he meets those marks and checks off those boxes, he’ll be back on the court. It’s as simple as that,” Ham said prior to the game against the Nuggets. “Am I willing to put a timetable on it? No. We have a distinct plan that’s detailed that we are going to follow.”
James Misses Nuggets Matchup With Ankle Injury
With Davis out, James has had to carry a large part of the load and he was doing so at an incredible level. He’s averaged 35 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists in the three games since the New Year and helped propel the Lakers to five straight wins.
But James was forced to sit out Monday’s matchup against the Nuggets with some ankle soreness. Ham said it was no reason to sound the alarm but just something the 38-year-old James felt he had to do.
“With LeBron it’s just a daily thing in terms of how he’s feeling. He listens to his body and he’s very responsible in that regard,” Ham said. “At the end of the day, we’ve been playing well but we don’t want to subject our guys to something that a little rest could help in the short term. We don’t want to force the issue. Him sitting out is totally fine.”
Another injury popped up for the Lakers against the Nuggets, with veteran guard Patrick Beverley heading to the locker room early with a hip injury. The extent is unknown but it’s a tough blow with the Lakers’ depth already being tested.
James Sees Heaps Praise on Thomas Bryant
Another Lakers player stepping up their game with Davis out has been Thomas Bryant. He averaged 21.2 points on 71.9% shooting and 13.6 rebounds during the Lakers’ five-game win streak and James is pumped to see how the frontcourt will look once AD gets back.
“I’ve already kind of had visions of what that could possibly look like with the frontcourt of myself, AD and Thomas on the floor together,” James said. “I think it could be extremely beneficial for our ballclub.”
Davis and Bryant have played just 13 minutes together this season, per ESPN. His presence could give Davis the flexibility he’s been looking for and keep him out of more physical matchups in the paint.