AD (back) exits early, expects to play vs. Blazers

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LOS ANGELES — Anthony Davis was ruled out of the second half of Thursday’s game against the LA Clippers because of back spasms, giving the Los Angeles Lakers two stars — along with LeBron James — who made their return from a long-term injury only to go back on the mend with the regular season quickly slipping away.

Davis, playing in his eighth game since missing nine weeks because of a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in his right leg, played nine minutes in the first quarter and scored four points on 2-for-9 shooting with one rebound. The Clippers outscored the Lakers by 10 in the time Davis was on the court.

Davis exited the game with 2 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter and did not return. He was evaluated by team medical staff during the second quarter before the team announced he would not return shortly after the third quarter began.

The Lakers entered the night leading the No. 7 Portland Trail Blazers by a half-game, keeping the defending champs narrowly out of a play-in scenario if the regular season ended today. The Lakers host the Blazers on Friday in the second night of a back-to-back.

James played two games last week after returning from a high right ankle sprain before needing to leave the lineup the past two games to continue his rehab. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James would also miss the Blazers game, at a minimum.

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