Injuries have been the story of this Los Angeles Lakers season and the latest might cause the end of it. Superstar big man Anthony Davis suffered a groin strain in Game 4 and was unable to play in Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns.
LeBron James got little help from the rest of the team as the Lakers were embarrassed by 30 points and now are on the brink of elimination.
The biggest question heading into Game 6 is obviously the health of Davis, who has been the Lakers’ best player in this series. Without Davis, all of the pressure will again be on the shoulders of James to lift this team to victory, but the hope of many is that the former will be on the court.
But James himself isn’t banking on a return for Davis and is mentally preparing to be without his running mate in the win or go home contest.
“My mindset is he’s not going to be able to play in Game 6, but that’s my mindset,” James said after the Game 5 loss. “Who’s going to be in the lineup. KCP tried to give it a go tonight, too. It didn’t work out for him as well. He had to leave the game as well. My mindset for me is as if AD won’t be in Game 6 and if something changes, we go from there. Preparing as if he’s not playing.”
This is undoubtedly the right way to go about things for James, especially with Davis’ status a complete unknown. Should he play, James and the rest of the team will be able to make the adjustment, but until it is known for sure, the Lakers should be prepared to take on the Suns without Davis.
As James also noted, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left Game 5 early after trying to make a return and his status for Game 6 is unclear as well. The Lakers have taken a ‘next man up’ approach all season and that will remain the case for this next game. Regardless of who else is on the court, James will surely be locked in and ready to go once that ball goes up.
Vogel unsure how close Davis is to returning
Though it was expected that Davis wouldn’t play in Game 5, the official decision was not made until the last possible moment and Davis was seen on the court before the game testing out his groin. Whether or not he was really close to suiting up was unclear and head coach Frank Vogel offered no additional information to that point.
“As far as Anthony [Davis] is concerned, he went out and moved around. I don’t know exactly how close he was, but he was unable to go.”
The Lakers’ backs are now against the wall and the hope is that Davis will suit up in Game 6. He will undoubtedly do everything possible to make that happen, but whether that will be enough remains unknown.
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