EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Numbers can hardly capture how badly Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel wants Anthony Davis back in the team’s lineup.
”[On a scale] of 1-10? 20? 30? 40? 100? 200?” Vogel asked rhetorically after the team’s practice on Friday when queried about how “anxious” he is to get Davis — who has missed the Lakers’ last four games with a gluteus maximus contusion — back on the floor.
The Lakers are listing Davis as questionable for now, but he was going through full-court running and shooting drills after practice, and will reportedly be a game-time decision once again when the team takes on the Houston Rockets on Saturday. And as much as Vogel would love to have Davis back in the lineup, he also says the team isn’t going to rush him.
“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 with someone this caliber,” Vogel said, while adding he wants to “look at the bright side” of the situation.
“It’s fun to see other guys get opportunities. To see Kuz (Kyle Kuzma) get the minutes he’s been getting. To see Dudz (Jared Dudley) get in there,” Vogel said. “I choose to focus on the positives of this in helping those guys grow. When one guy is out, there are always benefits for other guys.”
Still, while keeping those guys fresh or giving them added moments to contribute may be a good thing in the long run, the Lakers still need Davis if they want to reach their full ceiling. The team is taking the right approach by being cautious here, but there is also little wonder why Vogel is so “anxious” to get a player so key to the team’s past, present and future back out on the floor. We’ll see if Saturday is the day he’s been waiting for.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.