Los Angeles Lakers Should Not Rush Anthony Davis Back
The Los Angeles Lakers’ quest to defend their championship could possibly take a hit in the wake of this Anthony Davis injury news.
The star forward has been bothered by a right Achilles tendon that sidelined him for a few games before returning for two games. In his second game back vs the Denver Nuggets, he left the game after re-aggravating his Achilles tendon.
He went for an MRI on Monday. There was no rupture on his tendinitis but AD will be sidelined for at least two or three weeks. He will be re-evaluated after three weeks. The Lakers have nine more games left before the All-Star Break and Davis will certainly be out by the break.
Losing AD for a lengthy period of time would be a big blow to the Lakers and their chance for a repeat. But right now, it’ll be better in the long run if Davis sits out to rest his right heel.
Achilles tendon is no joke. It is one of the most serious leg injuries in sports. If a player tears their Achilles tendon, they will need surgery and be out at least for one year for recovery or maybe more. And in the majority of this case, a lot of players don’t recover well to be the same kind of players they were before.
Kevin Durant is one exception because he is having a great season with the Brooklyn Nets after missing all of last season while recovering from his Achilles tendon injury. But remember, Durant, injured his Achilles tendon back in the 2019 playoffs when he was with the Golden State Warriors. He first aggravated it in Game 5 of the second-round series vs the Houston Rockets. he missed the rest of that series and also the Western Conference Finals vs the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Warriors were able to still reach the NBA Finals without KD but they quickly fell behind 3-1 to the Toronto Raptors without Durant. KD perhaps from desperation came back in Game 5 of that series. But then the worst occurred and he tore his Achilles tendon. The Warriors ended up losing the Finals, failing to defend their championship.
Flashback two years later right now. The Lakers are in a pretty similar position, having won the NBA title last season, and have a chance to do it again. But unlike the Warriors a couple of years ago, Davis aggravated his Achilles tendon midway during the regular season. He has plenty of time to rest and recover and perhaps be back fresh for the playoffs in April. How fresh he can be depends on how the Lakers maneuver his health.
The smartest way for Los Angeles to handle this is to rest Davis as much as he can and make sure he’s fully fresh for the playoffs. The Lakers are in a good position to do that. They are 21-7 and are currently in second place in the West behind the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference. Without Davis, it will be tough for the Lakers to climb to the No. 1 seed. But they can still be a top 4 seed in the West because they are deep and they have LeBron James still running the show.
Rather than having the top 2 seed in the West, the most important thing for the Lakers is having Davis back and healthy for the stretch run. As great as LeBron is, they definitely need AD in order to repeat as champions. Not having Davis in their lineup or if he’s not 100% healthy, makes a big difference in their team. Davis is an All-Star and maybe the most versatile big man in the game now. He is the Lakers rim protector in the middle with his shot-blocking skills. Offensively he does it all. He can score inside and outside and he can run the floor in transition. Not having him on the floor are huge shoes to fill. He is the Robin to LeBron’s Batman.
In last season’s playoffs, Davis played like an elite superstar. In 21 games, he averaged 27.7 points, shot 57% from the field, 38% from three-point range, and 83% from the free-throw line. He also averaged 9.7 rebounds. LeBron may have won the NBA Finals MVP but there could be a strong debate that AD was the Lakers MVP in the entire playoffs.
The good news for the Lakers is that it’s still the regular season and Davis still has time to rest, heal and be 100% for the playoffs. With their 21-7 record, they are a near-lock to still make the playoffs with LeBron still around and his deep supporting cast. But their chances of winning it all depends on how LA handles Davis and when they’ll bring him back. The longer they rest him, the better and healthier AD will be come April when the real stretch run begins.
Should the Los Angeles Lakers take their time with Anthony Davis and not rush him back? Leave a comment below.
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