As every sports fan knows, injuries are simply part of the game. That reality, however, doesn’t exactly make things better when your team is forced to play without key contributors. The Los Angeles Lakers have been suffering through that exact situation, with both Anthony Davis and LeBron James on the sidelines.
Lakers fans may finally have received a bit of good news, though. Anthony Davis could be on his way back to full health relatively soon.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James led the LA Lakers to the 2020 NBA title
Basketball, more so than other sports, is built around star players; it’s tough to legitimately compete for an NBA championship without some top-tier talent on the roster. Thankfully for the LA Lakers, they have both LeBron James and Anthony Davis under contract.
James joined the Lakers during the summer of 2018. His first season in Hollywood, however, was a disappointment; LeBron struggled with a groin injury, and the team failed to make the playoffs. During the following offseason, though, they took steps to ensure that wouldn’t happen again.
Frank Vogel took over as the Lakers’ head coach, and Anthony Davis arrived in town via a trade. While there were some early growing pains—AD and King James didn’t initially seem compatible, at least on the court—those eventually faded away. The two stars gave the Lakers a legitimate one-two punch and that, as is usually the way in the modern NBA, paid dividends.
Although the 2019-20 NBA season was anything but conventional, the Lakers eventually lifted the Larry O’Brien Trophy and were crowned champions. Their title defense, however, has been quite a bit tougher.
Injuries have put a damper on the Lakers 2021 campaign
No matter how talented a team is, repeating as back-to-back champions is never easy. Injuries, however, have made the LA Lakers 2021 campaign tougher than anyone imagined.
In February, Anthony Davis reaggravated a nagging Achilles injury; he’s yet to return to the lineup. While LeBron was more than capable of stepping up during the big man’s absence, he’s also landed on the sidelines. James suffered a high ankle sprain and, given both the age and the implications of an ankle issue, isn’t expected to hit the hardwood anytime soon.
As you might expect, the Lakers have struggled without their two leading men. They’re currently in fourth place in the Western Conference with a 32-19 record; as of now, there’s a chance they’ll slip far enough down the standings to find themselves in a postseason play-in game.
Anthony Davis could return from injury in a matter of days
Even since Anthony Davis left the lineup in February, it seems like the Lakers have been trapped in an endless cycle of bad news. There may finally be a piece of positivity, at least regarding the team’s star big man.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, “there is some hope within the organization that [Davis] will return to the lineup after the Lakers’ five-game Eastern Conference swing underway.” While Achilles injuries are always scary, that means AD could return to action as soon as April 15.
Stein also provided an update about LeBron James’ injury; while he’s a bit further away, there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel.
James has missed the past nine games after sustaining a high-ankle sprain during a game against Atlanta on March 20. The reflex assumption, because this is James, is that he will return by month’s end and duly return to elite form. Given that James is 36, and in his 18th season, we should probably also acknowledge the possibility that his recovery won’t be seamless.Marc Stein of the New York Times
While there’s nothing set in stone with those timelines—as Stein notes, Achilles and ankle injuries are touchy and can’t be powered through—they still represent a glimmer of hope for the LA Lakers. For all of their struggles, a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis will change the entire equation; even if they’re entering the playoffs as a lower seed than anyone expected, you can bet against them at your own risk.