The Los Angeles Lakers have done well treading water in recent weeks, evidenced by their solid 4-3 record during their recent seven-game road trip.
The Lakers are currently sitting in fifth in the Western Conference standings, which is impressive considering they have been without LeBron James and Anthony Davis for a long period of time. Los Angeles has mainly gotten by on their defense, while a different set of guys has stepped up offensively on a nightly basis.
However, reinforcements are finally on the way as head coach Frank Vogel announced that Davis is nearing a return after being re-evaluated when the team got back to L.A.
“Good news,” Vogel said before the Lakers’ game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday. “He was evaluated again upon return of this trip and he has been cleared for full on-court activity, full practice and anything we want to do with him to begin his real ramp-up and return to play.
“All the court work he’s been doing to this point has been to get him to be fully cleared to participate in full practice, so obviously he’s not playing tonight, it’s unlikely in the two Utah [Jazz] games, but not out of the question. We’ll see the next few days and hopefully he’s available after that.”
Vogel added that Davis is itching to get back on the court and play again. “He’s eager to get back out,” Vogel said. “That’s the biggest thing. He’s tired of being a patient and ready to be a player again. He’s eager to get to work in real practice the next few days. Live work and more eager to get back on the floor and obviously that’s going to give our whole group a big lift.”
Even though the Lakers have been learning how to win without Davis or James, getting someone like Davis back is a massive boost. The big man has been out for over two months, but the extended time off presumably means he is well-rested for the stretch run.
It will take some time for Davis to get back to his elite level of play, but his looming return could not be coming at a better time for the Purple and Gold.
Davis to be on minutes restriction upon returning
Even though Davis is slated to return soon, Vogel noted that the star will expectedly not be playing heavy minutes right away. “That’s the thing, whenever it is that he returns it’s not going to be a full return to playing 37 minutes a night, especially with the nature of practice and how shorthanded we are,” Vogel said.
“He’s going to have to use some games to try to get himself back in shape, so first few games he’s back will likely be short-minute performances. Probably like 15-minute minutes restriction and build up from there.”
That comes as no surprise though, and any contributions he can give will be greatly appreciated.
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