Return Timeline Revealed for Lakers Star Anthony Davis

Getty Images Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers.

There is growing optimism that Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis could be returning to the lineup this month, per a new report.

Head coach Frank Vogel announced some good news on All-Star big man Anthony Davis following Monday’s victory against Utah, sharing that he has been cleared for contact — the natural next step of his recovery. Davis has missed the last 14 games for the Lakers with an MCL sprain.

“Everything looked clean on the MRI and the checkup with doctors, so he’s been cleared for an on-court ramp-up with contact,” Vogel shared after the victory against the Jazz. “That doesn’t mean we’ll have a timeline. There’s still a reconditioning and ramp-up of work involved.”

The Lakers embark on a six-game road trip on January 21, after they take on the Pacers Wednesday. There’s a chance that Davis returns during that stretch away from home, per Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the LA Times.

According to people with knowledge of the situation, there’s optimism Davis could return during the team’s upcoming six-game road trip.

Injuries Have Been Story of Lakers’ Season

The Lakers have floated around .500 for the majority of the season and find themselves there once again at 22-22.

While the team has had its issues — particularly on the defensive end — injuries and COVID-19 related absences have also played a role in how the team has performed.

“When you have a vision of what you’re gonna look like, obviously there’s an adaptation element once you see it play out and you see all the pros and cons of it. We have an idea of what we want to look like but we just haven’t had everybody together at once yet to see it,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said recently. “We’ve had an up-and-down first half of the season, for sure. A lot of different guys being in and out and because of that, the shape of our identity has changed several times throughout the course of the year.”

Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game this season.

Lakers Expected to Stay Small Upon Davis’ Return

Davis has dealt with his share of injuries over the last calendar year and the Lakers are hoping he can stay healthy for a stretch run as they look to bolster their positioning in the West. When he does return, Davis is expected to see more time at center, with LeBron James filling in when he’s off the course to maintain a sleeker small-ball look.

“I think you’re going to see Anthony playing a lot at the 5, and when Anthony is out (of the game), we have the lineups we’ve been playing right now with LeBron basically playing point center,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said this week. “It is the direction I think we’re going to land with this group towards the second half of the season, and one we’re seeing obvious benefits from right now that we feel like are going to be even more enhanced when Anthony comes back.”

The Lakers still have traditional centers Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan on the roster, although they have been gauging the market on both to see what they could get in return.

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