Anthony Davis went down with an apparent left ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals after landing awkwardly on an elbow jumper. Davis was able to play on — with a noticeable limp for multiple minutes after the incident — with both the player and Coach Frank Vogel expressing full optimism that he would be ready to go for Game 5 (The Lakers are officially listing him as questionable).
However, once the interviews were over and the arena lights went out, the proverbial spotlights turned to the Lakers’ medical and training staff, who are now responsible for getting Davis’ ankle as close to 100% fit for Game 5, set to tip less than 48 hours after Game 4 concluded.
In the following video, I explained the likely treatment plan and step-wise progression (I do specialize in foot & ankle, ya know) from after Game 4, to Friday’s “off day,” to the build-up to Game 5 on Saturday:
So there you have it — a methodical and intentional treatment plan with built-in assessments and progressions focusing on functionality and tolerating in-game demands.
Medical and training staff’s rarely get any spotlight, but hopefully this video gave you a little more insight into what may go on behind the scenes, and how the supporting personnel executing their plan when the rubber hits the road can be just as important as in-game execution.
Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 1.5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and Laker Film Room.