Anthony Davis stopped the hearts of every Lakers fan around the world when he crumpled to the floor in a heap during the first quarter of Game 5 of the 2020 NBA Finals. When fighting with the Miami Heat on the offensive glass, Davis accidentally kicked himself in the back of his right leg, which re-aggravated the right heel contusion he’s been listed on the injury report with for weeks.
Davis had a hard time getting off the floor as he grabbed at his heel, leading many to fear the worst. But he eventually was able to stand and gingerly walk off the floor, and stayed near the bench to continue to test his ability to walk. Eventually satisfied with his mobility, he re-entered the game, and actually hit a few threes and played solid basketball... for a while.
Davis finished the game with 28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks, but by the end of the night he was clearly limited, noticeably limping up and down the floor as the Lakers fell in the final minutes of a 111-108 loss to the Heat. It’s unclear how much the injury will affect him moving forward.
“He’s just battling through,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel after the game. “Struggling to move a little bit, but he toughed it out. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Davis said the injury originally happened in the previous round against the Denver Nuggets, but he isn’t worried about it, or at the very least doesn’t think the injury will force him to miss time.
“(Andre Iguodala) kind of stepped on it and re-aggravated it. I’ll be fine,” Davis said.
Our own Dr. Rajpal Brar, who has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, gave his view on what happened and the possible prognosis from afar on Twitter.
Re: AD’s heel contusion for game 6. He’s been dealing with this for awhile and it’s a matter of managing discomfort. The risk is re-aggravating (as we saw today) but overall it’s a matter of getting treatment & likely some extra heel padding. Confident he’ll be good for Sunday.— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) October 10, 2020
But even at clearly less than full strength, James said it gave him confidence just having Davis out on the floor, and credited his co-star for fighting through.
“He’s a warrior, man,” James said. “Him being out there, hobbled, just brings a lot more confidence to myself and our team. We know the nicks and bumps and bruises he’s played through throughout the whole season. We have to pick it up for him.”
If Davis is forced to miss time or is limited at all in this series, L.A. may be in trouble. Davis has been key for the Lakers all year, and a huge mismatch in this series, prior to his injury. If he ends up re-aggravating this injury further, it’s unknown how the team would even attempt to replace him. We’ll see if such scenarios will even be worth considering when the team gives an update on Davis’ status moving forward on Saturday, but this is not great.
The Lakers will play Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.
This story will update with more information as this situation develops.