After taking a scary fall against the Knicks almost two weeks ago that left him with the most famous gluteus maximus contusion in the NBA, there was the possibility that Anthony Davis could be back in action for the Lakers‘ showdown with the Rockets on Saturday night, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported. However, the franchise ruled the All-Star out of the matchup just over an hour prior to the scheduled tip-off time.
The Lakers survived without Davis, beating the Rockets 124-115, and it sounds like they’ll be without him for at least one more game. After the Lakers’ practice on Sunday, the team listed Davis as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Boston Celtics. The Lakers have been, and will surely continue to be, cautious with Davis. But it doesn’t appear they’re going to take sitting him out any further than it truly needs to go. In addition to Davis potentially missing Monday night’s game, the Lakers are also listing Rajon Rondo as questionable with a non-displaced volar plate avulsion fracture of the right ring finger. Rondo has missed the past three games for the Lakers.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel is walking a fine line of playing it safe with Davis and wanting him back on the court for obvious reasons. On Friday, Vogel was asked how “anxious” he’s been about Davis’ absence in the lineup.
“On a 1-10 (scale)? Twenty? Thirty? Forty? A hundred? Two-hundred? I’m very anxious, but also having the mindset to be very wise and patient and intelligent about an injury to a very important player that we’re not going to rush back,” Vogel said, via McMenamin. “We’re going to be conservative and make sure he’s right before we return him to play, have a marathon mindset to the season, as we would with all of our players, but in particular someone of his caliber.”
The Lakers have performed admirably during Davis’ four-game absence, going 4-1 with wins over the Rockets, Mavericks and Thunder — the latter of which they pulled off with LeBron James sidelined, as well. During that stretch, the Lakers — whose only loss came to the Magic — are a plus-13.4 and are shooting a collective 39.5 percent from three. Small sample size, sure. But these are encouraging signs for a team playing without an MVP candidate.
Kyle Kuzma, who was coming off the bench before Davis went down, has seen the bump in minutes and should continue to start as long is Davis is out. Since starting, Kuzma is averaging 20 points and 5.8 rebounds, while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and posting a boxscore plus-minus of 6.2.
Sources from: CBS Sports