The Los Angeles Lakers have been without star big man Anthony Davis since mid-December but should be getting a good idea soon of when he could return.
Davis was originally scheduled to be re-evaluated in four weeks from the injury, which would have been on Saturday. The team revealed that it’ll be just slightly after that when Davis’ MCL sprain will be looked at.
“He’s gonna be evaluated early next week and we’ll have an update at that point,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said after the team’s practice on Friday.
When Davis could return after that evaluation is still unknown, although Dave McMenamin of ESPN gave a little more insight.
“Anthony Davis participated in an individual on-court workout on Friday, four weeks to the day since spraining the MCL in his left knee,” McMenamin wrote. “There is optimism within the Los Angeles Lakers organization that the star big man could return to game action sometime during L.A.’s long road trip at the end of the month, sources told ESPN.”
Davis went down midway through the third quarter against the Timberwolves on Dec. 17 when forward Jaden McDaniels rolled into his legs. David hobbled to the sideline and made his way down the tunnel. Davis stumbled and sat on the floor once he got a few steps down. Davis was already nursing the knee and had it looked at twice that week. He missed two games earlier in the month with left knee soreness.
The Lakers have been staying afloat without him in the lineup, going 5-7 in the 12 games he’s missed. Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game this season.
Davis Has Been Seen Getting in Some Work
A positive sign for the Lakers is that Davis has been putting in some on-court work with a bulky brace on his knee over the last week. Dr. Rajpal Brar broke down Davis’ status and what it could mean for his return.
“This is a very positive indicator because it tells us he is progressing to a higher level of intensity and responding quite well. Although the team has said that he will be re-evaluated in the fourth week, the reality is, the physio and training staff are evaluating Davis daily and if he wasn’t responding well, he wouldn’t be on the court doing these activities,” Brar said in a video breakdown on Silver Screen and Roll. ” The next major step in his progression here will be doing that lateral, side-to-side movement. Once we see that, that’s when he is really going to be close to being cleared for a full return to activities.”
The Lakers are hoping the time off will have Davis closer to 100 percent, seeing as he’s dealt with multiple injuries over the last calendar year.
Lakers to Continue Smaller Lineups When Davis Returns
When Davis does return, he can expect to play a good chunk of his time at the center position, which was a game-changer for the Lakers before he was injured.
“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. Having James and Davis on the court just gives the team an additional element that has played out well on offense.
“That’s the beauty of them is that they’re both versatile as playmakers and screeners, you know what I mean?” Vogel said. “And what we’ve done is open up the paint and we feel like it’s going to benefit both of those guys in that role.”