There are many reasons the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled this season, but perhaps at the top of the list is the number of games Anthony Davis has missed due to injury.
Davis has played just 37 games this season, first missing time due to an MCL sprain in his knee and then most recently with a mid-foot sprain after landing on Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert’s foot while battling for a rebound.
The injury happened on Feb. 16, so Davis has been out for more than a month now, although a return seems to be on the horizon.
Davis was recently cleared to do some on-court shooting, and it seems that his workload is increasing with each passing day as he ramps up for a potential late-season return. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Davis is targeting the first week of April for his return:
If everything continues to progress well in Davis’ rehab, the All-Star big man could be suiting up for games by the first week of April, at the earliest, sources told ESPN.
Frank Vogel also gave an update on Davis before Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, supporting the report that a return could be near.
“It’s really just he’s getting evaluated on a daily basis based on the amount of work he did the day prior,” Vogel said. “Not like imaging and things like that. Just how is it responding to the increased workload and he’s coming along really well.”
At this point, it’s safe to say that any championship hopes the Lakers have rest on Davis getting healthy in time for the playoffs. The team has struggled greatly without him, going 4-11 and not winning back-to-back games since January.
Lakers shouldn’t rush Davis back
With LeBron James continuing to play at such a high level though, if Davis returns to his old self then it is hard to write off the Lakers completely. Considering how many injuries Davis has dealt with the last couple years though, L.A. needs to ensure he is fully healthy before returning in order to avoid re-injury.
The Lakers’ last regular-season game comes on April 10, so if Davis is indeed able to return in the first week of April then he should be able to play in 2-3 game before the Play-In Tournament, which would be ideal.
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