The Los Angeles Lakers received a crushing blow in their Game 4 loss to the Phoenix Suns when Anthony Davis went down with a left groin strain just before the end of the first half.
Davis was already coming into the game hobbled having sprained his knee in Game 3 and wasn’t looking like his usual self throughout the course of the first half. He then hurt the groin after falling on a drive to the basket just before halftime.
When the Lakers came out for the third quarter, Kyle Kuzma started in Davis’ place and the latter was later ruled out for the game. Phoenix was able to take advantage by going on a third-quarter run to take a double-digit lead and never looked back, tying the series at two games apiece.
The Lakers did receive some positive news when it comes to Davis’ status as it was reported that he avoided a serious groin injury and would be considered day-to-day with a chance to play in Game 5.
It appears the quick turnaround from Sunday to Tuesday won’t be enough for Davis to get right though as Shams Charania of The Athletic is now reporting that Davis is unlikely to play, although the team is still optimistic that it won’t be a long-term injury:
Lakers star Anthony Davis is unlikely to play in Game 5 vs. Suns on Tuesday due to strained groin, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. There’s optimism about Davis‘ status as series continues and as he is evaluated day-to-day.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 31, 2021
Game 5 will be the biggest game of the Lakers’ season, so in a perfect world, Davis would have been able to suit up and dominate the way he did in both the Games 2 and 3 wins.
Sitting him out is clearly the right thing to do to ensure his long-term health though as winning one game is not worth the risk of potentially losing Davis for the entire playoffs. Groin strains can be tricky and one day of rest just isn’t enough for a player to get healthy enough to play meaningful minutes in a postseason game, even if it is only a Grade 1 strain.
LeBron ready to carry load without Davis
In Davis’ absence, other players will have to step up for the Lakers, which hasn’t exactly been the case in this series.
Chief among them, of course, is LeBron James and he said after the Game 4 loss that he is ready to carry the load if that’s what it takes to win this series.
“For me, it’s putting our team in position to be successful. It starts with my approach,” James said. “It starts with my accountability and trickles down to everybody else. These shoulders were built for a reason and if it takes for me to put more on top of it then so be it. Win, lose or draw. I’m ready for the challenge.”
As great as James is though, it takes more than just him to beat a tough team like the Suns, so other players are going to have to increase their level of play as well, which won’t be easy in a tough road environment in Phoenix.
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