When one Laker goes down, another Laker almost always seems to come back. That has been the pattern brewing between LeBron James and Anthony Davis this season. Davis has played in 37 games this season and James has played in 55, but the Los Angeles Lakers have had both of them just 21 times all year. Now, sure enough, just as James has gone down with yet another injury, Davis is gearing up for his return.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel revealed that Davis was a full participant in practice Monday for the first time since he suffered a mid-foot sprain in February. However, he’s still not quite ready to return as Vogel said Davis is out for Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. James, who tweaked his ankle on Sunday against the Pelicans, is also out for the Dallas game. It is unclear how long that injury will keep him out.
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Davis has been out since Feb. 15 with that mid-foot sprain, and it was not the only injury he’s dealt with this season. An MCL injury knocked him out for more than a month earlier on, and as has become the norm with Davis, minor issues have kept him out of games here and there.
The 31-43 Lakers are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference. Their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday cost them the tiebreaker against the Pelicans, and the Spurs (31-44) are right behind them for a play-in spot. If the Lakers don’t take care of business in these last few weeks, they are going to lose their chance to reach the postseason.
That is why having both James and Davis healthy is essential. If the Lakers are going to have any chance of salvaging any portion of this season, it starts with their two best players. Davis appears close to a comeback, but as has been the Lakers’ luck all season, it isn’t clear how long it will take James to recover. If they aren’t both healthy in time for the play-in round, this team has no chance at reaching the playoffs.