The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Anthony Davis was re-examined by team medical staff on Friday and is continuing to advance in his recovery, being cleared to advance his on-court work.
What that means, according to the team, is that he’ll be able to increase his volume and intensity in shooting, dribbling and position-specific drills.
Davis has been out of the lineup since Feb. 16 after sustaining a calf/Achilles injury against the Denver Nuggets and was initially ruled out for at least four weeks. The Lakers followed up on March 12 and revealed that he would miss at least another two weeks. Reports later surfaced that Davis could be held out longer as the team is looking to be overly cautious with the 28-year-old’s health.
With this new update, it is being speculated that Davis could return in the next two-and-a-half weeks, putting him on track to return sometime in early April. The Lakers have gone 8-10 in the big man’s absence, oftentimes struggling on both ends of the floor.
Head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged pregame against the Cleveland Cavaliers that Davis has been getting looked at on a daily basis and is still not close to returning. “Truth is he gets evaluated every day,” Vogel said. “They treat him, they evaluate him. We’re in the middle of a ramp up, but he’s still a ways away.”
The Lakers looked like they were finally turning the corner in Davis’ absence as they won four consecutive games after the All-Star break, but the momentum quickly dissipated after LeBron James went down with an ankle injury against the Atlanta Hawks. James was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss between four to six weeks.
Without both their superstars, the Lakers endured a four-game losing streak before snapping it in a win against the Cavaliers. However, their upcoming schedule gets much more difficult as they will face off against several playoff teams in the coming weeks. It is conceivable that Los Angeles tumbles down the Western Conference standings before Davis and James are able to return.
Lakers in danger of having to participate in play-in tournament
The Lakers will surely struggle to win many games in the coming weeks which means the play-in tournament is a real possibility for the team. As things currently stand, Los Angeles is four games ahead of the seventh-seed Dallas Mavericks, but the latter has a much softer schedule the rest of the way.
While a healthy Lakers squad would be a heavy favorite against any play-in team, they should try to avoid the extra game at any cost as that could impact their chances to repeat.
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