The Los Angeles Lakers are ready to welcome Anthony Davis back to the court, which forward Kyle Kuzma made abundantly clear following a 111-97 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday.
When asked about the prospect of Davis returning to the lineup on Thursday against Dallas, Kuzma responded, “His ass better play,” Kuzma said. “He’s been out [how many] months? Hopefully, he’s ready to go.”
Kuzma did get more serious with an extended answer on what Davis will bring when he returns.
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“Hopefully he’s ready to go,” Kuzma said. “We miss him a lot out there. Having him out there will be good for us because it allows certain guys to fall in line a little more. As a whole, we can all get back to a little bit of a role and play around him a little bit. Obviously, he has to get his feet wet, but it will make us look a little better.”
Anthony Davis Poised for Return After Extended Absence
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel provided an update on Davis on Monday, noting that he got in some “good work” prior to Monday’s game.
“The biggest thing is conditioning right now,” Vogel told reporters. “He’s healthy. But having not played and not really being able to ramp up his physical on-court activity over the last two months, it’s going to take some time before he gets his wind under him and obviously, that’s the biggest thing. Because if his legs aren’t under him, we don’t want him to be at risk for re-aggravation of the injury or another injury. We want to keep a close eye on that.”
Davis has been out since February 14 with a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis. Prior to Thursday’s game, the Lakers had gone 12-14 in that span without their All-NBAer, falling from No. 2 in the Western Conference to No. 5. The Lakers have gone 14-15 in that span.
The Lakers have taken a very cautious approach with Davis, which hasn’t been easy for the eight-time All-Star.
“He’s tired of being a patient and ready to be a player again, so he’s eager to get to work in real practice the next few days in live work, and more eager to get back on the floor,” Vogel said last week. “And obviously that’s going to give our whole group a big lift.”
Prior to the injury, Davis was averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds, while also helping bolster the Lakers’ stout defense with 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals.
LeBron James ‘Weeks Away’ From Return
There’s a little more uncertainty when it comes to LeBron James, who has been out nearly a month with a high-ankle sprain, which he suffered when Atlanta’s Solomon Hill took a tumble into his leg.
The original timeline of recovery from the injury — which occurred on March 20 — was reportedly 4-6 weeks, which would have James returning around the end of April. However, James is “believed to be weeks away from getting back into game action” per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Vogel admitted the Lakers aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to overcoming the injury bug.
“Even when Anthony returns, it’ll be in short, limited minutes,” Vogel said. “We’re still in a stretch where we’ve got to compete and win games for the most part without those guys.”