LeBron James and Anthony Davis both continued to add to their list of dings on Saturday night as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers on the road to snap their four-game losing streak. Davis was left grabbing his shoulder after Kent Bazemore stole the ball from him and pulled Davis’ arm, while James landed on his right elbow after getting fouled on a fast-break layup attempt.
Those two incidents added to a growing list of injuries James (groin, thoracic muscle) and Davis (shoulder, rib, ankle) are dealing with, but after the game, both players said they planned to play on Sunday when the Lakers face the Dallas Mavericks on the second night of their back-to-back:
AD said he just tweaked the shoulder on that 3rd Q play and that he’s fine. Said he’s fortunate to avoid something worse on that play. He said the plan is to play tomorrow vs. Dallas, though as always they’ll see how he feels in the morning.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 29, 2019
James was similarly optimistic about his status while speaking to reporters (via Bill Oram of The Athletic):
With the Lakers hosting the Mavericks fewer than 24 hours after the start of Saturday’s game, James was asked if he expected to play Sunday.
“I plan on it,” he said. “As long as this ice takes care of its business and I wake up comfortably and healthy, yeah.”
As for the state of his groin?
“I’m doing all right for myself,” he said.
On the Lakers’ official status report, Davis (right shoulder soreness) is listed as questionable, while James (groin contusion) is probable to play:
The Lakers' have put up their official status report going into tonight's game: pic.twitter.com/NHp2jmLmMK— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) December 29, 2019
As we’ve written a few times in this space, while it’s admirable how much James and Davis are clearly treating every regular season game like it matters, and trying to give fans who may go to just one game that year a chance to see what they paid for, they (and the Lakers) also need to tread carefully here. The Lakers aren’t going anywhere without their two stars at as close to 100% as possible entering the postseason, and even if they have to miss a few regular season games to get right — and even if that hurts the team’s record — it would likely be worth it to make sure they’re all right.
The good news for the Lakers is that even if James and Davis do play on Sunday night, they will have two full days to take it easy before the Lakers play their next game (and first game of 2020) on Wednesday when they host the Phoenix Suns to ring in the New Year. That game will also come as part of a stretch in which the schedule lightens up again after a tough month of December, with the struggling Suns being followed by home dates with the New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks before heading to Dallas to take on the Mavericks for a final time during the regular season. Dallas is really good, but those other teams are not, so maybe if James and Davis need a rest, the opportunity comes at some point during that four-game stretch with two Mavericks games as bookends.
We’ll see how the Lakers handle this, and stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for updates on James and Davis’ statuses.