The Los Angeles Lakers’ incredible 2019-20 NBA season nearly suffered a huge hit in their win against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Shortly after the tip, Anthony Davis took a knee to the calf and was immediately taken to the locker room. Luckily, Davis clearly felt healthy enough to return and did so in the second quarter. He ended up finishing the game with 28 points, 13 rebounds, and a monster seven blocks.
This is not Davis’ first in-game injury scare. He’s still recovering from a finger sprain he suffered prior to the 2020 NBA All-Star break as well as the fall on his back that sidelined him for five games. While he has been able to play through most of his aches and pains throughout the season, the Lakers need to have a plan in place to keep him healthy to the 2020 NBA playoffs.
Davis is not the type of person to be overly cautious, though.
“As long as [the training staff] tells me that it’s nothing serious, I go out there and play,” Davis said. “You just don’t know until you check all the boxes. Anytime they tell me that I’m clear and that it’s not going to hurt me to go out there, then I’m just going to go out there ready to play.”
There seems to be a team-wide ‘next man up’ philosophy when it comes to in-game injuries, and that’s a testament to the culture the Lakers have created in the locker room.
“Shout out to the culture. We want to build a foundation but if guys can’t go, have a next man up mentality and I think we did that tonight when I went out,” Davis said.
“If guys feel like they’re able to play, then by all means we’re going to be out on the floor. We’re trying to set a culture, set a standard for ourselves that we want to get into a rhythm before playoffs.”
Of course, the Lakers need to be cautious. They currently hold a five-game lead atop the Western Conference, so they have enough cushion to be able to rest players if they need to.
However, it is nice to know the players want to be out there each and every night and have no intention of taking games off unless they have to.