Anthony Davis may not miss any time with the injury he suffered against the Knicks on Tuesday, as despite initial reports paining the picture that Davis wouldn’t even travel with the team on their upcoming two-game road trip, the Lakers are now saying he will, and that he’s questionable to play Friday against the Mavericks with a gluteus maximus contusion that was picked up an MRI last night.
Davis took an extremely hard fall while colliding with Julius Randle in an attempt to block a shot, and after lying on the ground for a few minutes was helped up and walked to the locker room under his own power. He did not return to the game and left Staples Center on a cart after initial X-Rays on him were negative.
Anthony Davis was escorted out of the arena laying on the bed of a motor carrier. “I’m fine,” he told Yahoo Sports while acknowledging he’ll miss some time.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 8, 2020
For as long as Davis is out — if he does even miss time — the Lakers will have a huge void to fill. Davis uses more possessions on the Lakers than anyone not named LeBron James, according to NBA.com, and is averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. Replacing Davis is not something just one player can do, which the team acknowledged after the game on Tuesday.
“It’s next man up. It’s a long season, it’s a marathon and everyone’s health is more important than the sprint,” James said. “If it causes for AD to miss anytime, then next man up and we all have to be even better.”
“You can’t say ‘let’s replace what he does.’ He does everything.”
Expect the committee trying to fill in for Davis to include Kyle Kuzma, who will likely start in Davis’ place, with Jared Dudley also getting unearthed for some playing time as the backup power forward. Additional possible extra minutes may go to Dwight Howard and/or JaVale McGee at center to replace Davis’ time at that position.
The good news for the Lakers is that they’re 30-7, and have a 4.5 game lead on the second seed in the West, which gives them a little bit of a cushion should they falter some without Davis should he need to sit.
Still, the team will need to do their best to stay afloat if Davis is out or limited, and we’ll get our first look at how they’ll start to do so when they fly to Dallas to take on the Mavericks on Friday, the first night of a road back-to-back that will see them play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night. Those wouldn’t be easy games with Davis, and if they’re without him, the Lakers are really going to have to fight.