Back on February 14th, Lakers Nation was left holding their breath when Anthony Davis did not return to the floor in the second half after sustaining a leg injury against the Denver Nuggets. The immediate news out of the locker room was not good. Davis had reinjured the same Achilles that had been bothering him throughout the season.
The subsequent MRI performed the net day was slightly more promising. Davis had not ruptured his Achilles tendon, but the tendon sprain and calf injury would keep him out of action a minimum of 3-4 weeks.
It’s now been over a month since Los Angeles Laker fans have seen Davis take the floor and news from the team and coach Frank Vogel remains vague.
Frank Vogel on Anthony Davis: "I don't have anything further about Anthony. He's just going through his build-up with his daily work. Timeline hasn't changed. He'll be re-evaluated I think whatever that point is that I think in another few days, four or five days."
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) March 19, 2021
This comes Yahoo Sports revealed that Davis’ absence may extend to three weeks or longer. Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
The Los Angeles Lakers announced last Friday that the eight-time All-Star would be examined in two weeks to check the progress of his tendinosis and his right calf strain.
However, sources informed Yahoo Sports that Davis could be sidelined for the next three weeks and possibly beyond. The Lakers will be overly cautious in their approach to working Davis back even at the cost of slipping in the standings, which has occurred.
Urgency to Return
What we do know is that Davis is scheduled to be reevaluated by the Lakers medical staff sometime this coming week. It’s been apparent that Vogel and the rest of the front office staff have made a concerted effort to give Davis as much time off as he needs. However, the recent basketball news regarding teammate LeBron James may change things.
James appeared to suffer a high ankle sprain in the Lakers’ 99-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks last night. Replays show the Hawks Solomon Hill crashing into James’ right leg early in the second quarter. James’ ankle buckled inward upon contact and he was in visible pain, left the game, and did not return.
The Lakers were already struggling without Davis in the line-up going 7-7 over the last 14 games without the big forward in the line-up. If James’ injury forces him to miss any action, the team might feel pressure to get Davis out on the court a little planned.
Davis for the most part seems anxious to get back out there and has been working out on the court. When asked about how he is doing, Davis shared that he feels physically ready to play, but wants to be smart with the injury.
Davis was having a sub-standard year prior to the injury, averaging 22.5 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds. The 22.5 points per game represent his lowest average since his second season in the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans, and likely due to his lingering leg injury.
NBA Trade Deadline: Big Men
As Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and the team barrel toward the March 25th NBA trade deadline, it’s no secret that they covet a prized big man.
Forward P.J. Tucker was certainly on the team’s shortlist, but is off the market as Houston traded Tucker and Rodions Kurucs to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday for D.J. Augustin, D.J. Wilson, and Milwaukee’s first-round pick in 2023.
Andre Drummond, Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, and ex-Lakers JaVale McGee remain available.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski’s Woj-Pod, Los Angeles continues to be linked to Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, Drummond’s $28.7 million salary means that the Lakers would need Cleveland to buyout the two-time All-Star to make it happen.
It is assumed that Cleveland would prefer to trade Drummond, and teams like the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets have the better pieces to deal with.
With their playoff hopes fading, it appears to be the perfect time for the Indiana Pacers to sell high on Turner who is leading the NBA in blocked shots. According to J. Michael of IndyStar, the Lakers are reportedly one of five teams that could look to make an offer for the 24-year-old center out of Texas.
The New York Knicks, L.A. Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans are among those who have explored whether the Pacers are willing to part with the league’s leading shot-blocker, league sources tell IndyStar
With Marc Gasol missing time because of COVID safety protocols and in the absence of Davis, the Los Angeles re-signed 25-year-old Damian Jones for the rest of the season. Jones out of Vanderbilt, was the No. 30 overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA draft and while he probably isn’t the ideal big man for a team with championship aspirations, he may be what the Lakers end up with after the trade deadline.