The Los Angeles Lakers were on their way to a huge win over the Portland Trail Blazers to take a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs on Monday night when they got some news no one in the organization (or in the city of Los Angeles) wanted to hear: Anthony Davis was dealing with back spasms and would not return to the game.
Davis is actually on the sideline. This game gets a little tougher to actually close out. https://t.co/Wfxg2JecoE— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) August 25, 2020
Update: After the game, Davis said his back will be fine and that he’s planning to play in Game 5.
Davis was not the only star to miss time in this one, as Blazers guard Damian Lillard also suffered a knee injury and sat out the rest of the game:
Damian Lillard (right knee injury) will not return.— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) August 25, 2020
Portland Trail Blazers say the results of an MRI of Damian Lillard's right knee were inconclusive and he will undergo a second MRI Tuesday afternoon.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 25, 2020
Lillard, who was already dealing with a dislocated thumb, tried to give it a go again prior to that announcement, but evidently he felt something he didn’t like (or the team saw something they were worried about):
Damian Lillard clearly in a lot of discomfort in that hallway. Replay showed that right leg buckle pretty good. Seemed like it got worse as Lillard tried to play through it.— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) August 25, 2020
Hopefully this is all just precautionary for both players, because it would be a shame if this series result was marred by injuries, and also just because every team always wants to be able to say they won at full strength.
The Lakers led by 30-plus points for most of the second half, so it’s entirely possible this was just an instance of both coaches seeing their stars a little bit banged up and opting to save them for the next game of the series on Wednesday, Aug. 26, which could be the final night of this round for the Lakers if they’re able to win.
Both Lillard and Davis’ statuses moving forward are unknown as of right now, but we will update with more information if and when it becomes available. Both would obviously be immeasurable losses for their team if they miss any time, in this round or moving forward.