Anthony Davis injury sounds the alarms for Lakers with tough look-ahead

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Veteran forward Anthony Davis missed Saturday night’s game with a left calf contusion, could be back on Monday as the strength of the Lakers’ schedule progressively ramps up.

The Los Angeles Lakers faced the San Antonio Spurs for the third time in less than a week on Saturday. That game closed a back-to-back mini-series played in Texas in which the Lake Show went on to defeat Pop’s Kids 143-138, thus claiming a clean 3-0 record in the three-game battle starting last Sunday.

Right before the start of the game, Anthony Davis was ruled out by coach Darvin Ham. “He was kicked at some point in the second half [Friday] night and it’s a little irritated, a little bruising.”

Anthony Davis had missed just one game earlier this season, back at the end of October against Minnesota. Davis played 19 consecutive games to start last season before not dressing for the first time for the 20th game of the Lakers (at Indiana on Nov. 24). He only lasted two one year prior to that in the 2021 season, 10 in 2020, and four in 2019 in his last season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

According to ESPN, the Lakers are expecting Davis to return on Monday (vs Pacers) for the 19th game of their season. Los Angeles Lakers are currently sitting 13th in the Western Conference and they have won five of their last six games. The Lakers started that six-game, five-win run back on Sunday, Nov. 13, against the Brooklyn Nets and have only lost to the Phoenix Suns since then.

Removing some importance from the injury that left Davis out of Saturday’s game, coach Ham said that it all came down to a decision because of “it being a back-to-back” and “the load he was carrying.” Ham added that “it’s just the smart and right thing to do.”

The Lakers faithful must be breathing easy after this latest news and comments from Ham. “The medical people decided it was the right thing to do and I totally agree.”

In the last two seasons donning Purple & Gold threads, Davis appeared in just 76 total games, not even a full 82-game sample between the two years.

Anthony Davis has been the only bright light in a mediocre Lakers season

This year, missing just one game, Anthony Davis has been absolutely unstoppable, though, and one of the very few reasons the Lakers have kept their record relatively respectful through the first quarter of the season.

Davis has scored 20+ points in all but one game (he had a 19-12 double-double against Cleveland, though) and is averaging 26.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game this season. Those three figures would top his career-wide averages of 23.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game to date.

The Lakers better be right in their assessment and handling of Davis’ injury issues and health status, though.

Los Angeles might be 7-11, a negative but still viable record if they want to make the postseason, but the Lakers also have the third-worst SRS (Simple Rating System) among Western Conference teams through Saturday. Only the Rockets and the Spurs rank behind the Lakers.

All of that makes sense, considering the Lakers have defeated only two teams with a winning record (the Denver Nuggets, and the New Orleans Pelicans, in OT) and another expected to at least make it to the play-in (the Nets). Their other four victories all came against San Antonio (three times) and the lowly Detroit Pistons.

Starting in December, the Lakers’ schedule looks daunting, to say the least, and that is after playing Indiana and Portland in the last two games of November.

The Lakers will start December on a six-game road trip and once they get back home they’ll be hosting Boston, Denver, and Washington. The month also includes trips to Phoenix, Sacramento, Dallas, Miami, and Atlanta, and only one more home game after the aforementioned three (vs. Charlotte on Dec. 23).

While still holding onto Russell Westbrook and their coveted first-round picks in 2025 and 2027, the next month might be the pivotal period in which a decision is made involving all of those assets and the willingness of the front office to push for contention… or rather banking on putting together a rebuilding effort.

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