For nearly the entire NBA playoffs and much of the regular season, Anthony Davis was on the injury report for the Lakers with a variety of bumps and bruises. He almost always played — in part owed to the way co-star LeBron James helped Davis commit to preventative maintenance — but due to how hard he plays for a guy his size, Davis was picking up dings quite regularly throughout the team’s run to the 2019-20 NBA title.
The latest injury Davis was being listed with was a right heel contusion he originally sustained in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, and then re-aggravated in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
However, in a story from Malika Andrews and Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Davis revealed the heel contusion wasn’t the only injury he was dealing with while trying to help the Lakers clinch their 17th championship in franchise history:
“Man, I’m hurting,” said Davis, who was listed on the injury report with a right heel contusion but told ESPN he was also dealing with an undisclosed ankle injury that required six hours of treatment on Sunday afternoon.
“My mindset is, ‘It’s the Finals. I got to do whatever I can to compete,’” he said. “There’s no way in hell I wasn’t playing in this game.”
Those hours of treatment paid off, too, as Davis was incredible in Game 6, even if he clearly wasn’t 100%. He still managed to score 19 points, snatch 15 rebounds and block 2 shots to secure the first championship of his career, and his defense was incredible — especially when considering in retrospect that he was playing through not just one, but two painful leg injuries.
But Davis wasn’t going to let any of that keep him off the court, and it makes the moment he realized he was a champion even more beautiful:
It’s not clear when next season will even start, so Davis should have plenty of time to rest and get healthy during the offseason. Still, as anyone who watched JaVale McGee’s bubble vlogs learned, these guys do an astounding amount of work in the training room just to stay healthy and stay on the floor.
Davis deserves a ton of credit for how hard he fought to stay on the floor for this game, and all year. He clearly wanted to be a champion as badly as this fanbase wanted No. 17, and after a career of people mocking his propensity for injuries by calling him “Anthony Day-to-Davis” and other names, it’s yet another example of someone on this Lakers team silencing doubters and proving their reputation wrong during the longest and most difficult season in NBA history.
Enjoy a well-earned offseason AD. Try to stay off your feet for at least a little bit of it.