Anthony Davis’ lower leg injury hit the Los Angeles Lakers hard in mid-February, right when the wear and tear of the 2020-21 season started to overwhelm the defending NBA champions.
The 28-year-old hadn’t been at his best before he reaggravated his Achilles injury and suffered a calf strain in the 122-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 14. But his absence undeniably contributed to the mid-season crisis that resulted in a 3-7 run to end the first half of the current campaign for the Lakers.
Considering the dire potential consequences of Achilles injuries, the Lakers took a conservative approach to Davis’ rehab. The team announced recently the All-Star forward will be re-evaluated in two weeks, extending the initial four-week timeline.
And even though Davis has reportedly started light shooting drills already, head coach Frank Vogel said his recovery plan has mostly included “strengthening and weights” so far and will gradually intensify in the coming weeks.
“Actually, I haven’t talked to the medical team about if he’s doing stuff on the court or not,” he said. “There’s all these limitations now, when he came in earlier to lift, he can only do treatment and weights, he can’t do stuff on the court until all of the PCR results are in.
“So he’s just going to over the next few weeks hopefully begin a build-up of more activity.”
Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma have particularly stepped up in the All-Star’s absence, collectively making up for his contribution. Harrell said adjusting the gameplan in recent weeks was an “all-around process” but added L.A.’s roster is good enough to cope without Davis while he’s nursing his injury.
“We’ve been playing this long without AD so I think it’s just an all-around process and a growing process just trying to figure out the different things that we can do and just trying to gel with one another really,” Harrell said.
“I think we’ve got a deep enough roster to do that so I think everybody is just going to continue to keep getting better and just keep holding it steady until he’s able to make his return.”
Schroder believes extra practice will ‘help a lot’
The NBA’s health and safety protocols keep disrupting the Lakers’ training regime significantly limiting their practice time. Dennis Schroder reiterated — just like his teammates before — that L.A. often treated games as part of the training in the first half of the season.
However, the Lakers managed to get together on Saturday thanks to a rare weekend off ahead of the Monday clash with the Golden State Warriors. And Schroder said the extra time spent together will “help a lot” in creating a better understanding on the floor between the players.
“I think on the defensive end we can still do better, but on the offensive end, just to make it as easy as possible for us because I think we’ve got so much talent that we can score easy,” he said. “We’ve got to find ways to get that done.”
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