While there are many reasons for the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles this season, perhaps chief among them has been injuries to Anthony Davis.
The hope was that Davis would get back to his MVP type level this season, but instead, he has been forced to miss a ton of time, first with a knee injury and then a foot sprain that he suffered when he fell on Rudy Gobert’s foot in a game against the Utah Jazz just before the All-Star break.
Davis has been out for around a month, but it appears a return may not be far away. Frank Vogel revealed that Davis will begin shooting on Monday as he starts to ramp back up.
Davis then spoke for the first time and confirmed that he is feeling well enough physically to take the next steps in his rehab, via Matthew Barrero of NBA.com:
“I feel good. The swelling has definitely decreased, the function of my foot has increased. That was the main thing, trying to get that swelling down on the strain of the muscle. You guys could see when I first did it, it was bad. But we’re moving in the right direction, every day. I was able to get out of the boot, put a shoe on, and then got cleared today to do some shooting [on Monday].”
When asked how optimistic he is that he’ll be able to return soon, Davis spoke with confidence but not certainty:
“I’m very optimistic about it. Especially with the situation that we’re in with the Play-In and actually the fight to stay within the Play-In game. I’m trying to get back on course as soon as possible. As far as a number, I would love to say 100 [percent] but with only a certain number of games left, I’m not too sure.”
There is only a handful of games left in the regular season as the Lakers will close things out on April 10, not giving Davis a ton of time to get some game action in before a potential must-win Play-In Tournament game. While Davis is trying to rush back, he is also making sure he is 100% before making any sort of return:
“I miss being out on the floor. So, when I got the chance to get back out there, it was like ‘aw I missed you,’ and I was able to play at the elite level. It’s kind of the same now, especially because of how different our position is. We’re fighting to stay in the Play-In game and fighting to get into the playoffs. I’m trying to rush back but do it the right way, so I don’t reinjure the foot. Obviously, timing is of the essence. Just have to take it day-by-day and be smart about it.”
Considering how many injuries Davis has dealt with the last two seasons, it makes sense not to rush him back to ensure he is 100% moving forward.
Even though the Lakers are depending on him to come back and help salvage the season, it’s not worth it if the 29-year-old has to play through pain and risk further injury, as was the case in the postseason last year when he went down against the Phoenix Suns.
Vogel impressed by Lakers’ young trio
While not many players have impressed in Davis’ absence, the Lakers have begun relying on the young trio of Austin Reaves, Malik Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker more and it has led to some positive results. Vogel recently spoke on the quality play of all three, who should receive more opportunities moving forward.
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