The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of their first real rough patch as they dropped their third consecutive game, this time against the Denver Nuggets who have really begun to hit their own stride during the 2019-20 NBA season.
The Lakers were without LeBron James for the first time this season and his presence was sorely missed on both sides of the ball as they looked disorganized offensively while the team had no one aside from Anthony Davis who could guard Paul Millsap defensively.
Davis did his best to carry the team as he scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, but the most concerning thing is he hurt his knee in the third quarter after slipping on the floor. He exited the game for the remainder of the period before returning in the fourth quarter, but eventually sat back down as the game was well out of reach.
When asked about Davis’ injury, head coach Frank Vogel believed he looked fine and was comfortable enough with him re-entering.
“He tweaked it and felt good enough to go back into the game so we just rolled with it. I didn’t feel like he looked limited,” Vogel shared.
Although Davis was able to run up and down the floor, it appeared that he was still in some discomfort as he was slow to get back on defense on a couple of possessions and lacked the same lateral quickness along the perimeter that the Lakers are used to seeing. He has made it a point to tough out injuries — as evidenced in the Milwaukee Bucks game where he played 43 minutes on a sore ankle — but his long term health has to be an absolute priority for a Lakers team with championship aspirations.
At 24-6, Los Angeles still remains at the top of the Western Conference and their cushion allows them to get through poor stretches like these.
It is also an opportunity to ensure that Davis and James are healthy as both All-Star players are already banged up with nearly three-quarters of the season left to go.