As frustrating as the Los Angeles Lakers season has been on the court, Anthony Davis isn’t having a much better time on the sidelines. After he and LeBron James spent most of last season dealing with injuries, Davis had hoped to return and make a respectable run for the title this year.
For the first couple of months, Davis looked like his old playoff bubble self. He was regularly putting up double-doubles and keeping up the defense-first culture the team had worked so hard to build.
Other than a set of missed games due to knee soreness, Davis was mostly healthy, and the Lakers had a slightly above .500 record. Life was good. Then, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels fell onto his knee. The Lakers announced the next day that Davis had sprained his MCL, out at least four weeks.
He returned more than a month later, played two games, and got sidelined with a wrist injury. He suited up two days later, played the next 10 games, then got injured again. While most players would be discouraged with the constant setbacks, Davis said he’s being more optimistic instead, via Matthew Barrero of NBA.com:
“Both of the injuries could have been a lot worse. So, even though it’s a negative thing, I look at the positives and having positivity. Whereas if I didn’t train the way I train, there’s no telling what these injuries could have been. These are two injuries I couldn’t really control but continue to do what I’ve been doing to maintain the strength, the muscles, and the tendons in my body to stay strong. To be able to kind of withstand these injuries where they aren’t as bad [could’ve had a broken foot, torn ACL]. The doctors always tell me it could have been a lot worse so, I’m just taking the positivity out of that and continue to do what I’ve been doing as reconstructing my body to avoid anything larger or more detrimental.”
The Lakers have been careful not to rush Davis’ return. If the team can keep its spot in the Play-In Tournament, they will need Davis fully healthy.
Davis puts himself in a ‘bubble’ to help speed up recovery
While Davis is doing his best to remain positive throughout an erratic Lakers season, he’s also taking his own health more seriously in hopes to return soon.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been in this situation several times and this year it was twice where it has been out of my control to a certain extent [i.e. player falling into his knee and landing on another player’s foot]. I’ve learned over the years that when I’m rehabbing I kind of just put myself into this bubble and lock in to try and get back as soon as possible. And I’ve also been better at rehabbing the rest of my body. I’ve learned to do that over the years, and it’s helped me in my returns.”
Davis has unfortunately been dealing with injuries his entire career. Even if he’s able to make a return for a postseason push, the superstar has already acknowledged the shrinking window that he and James have left together.
James has been playing at another level lately, as he tries to drag this Lakers team into the Play-In Tournament. If Davis can return and stay healthy while James is playing this way, this whole season may be worthwhile.
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