It’s hard to consider an injury diagnosis that will leave Anthony Davis out for at least a month as good news, but the sense of a bullet dodged by both him and the Lakers was present on Sunday.
Two days after a scary injury left Davis crumpled on the floor and unable to even walk down the tunnel in Minnesota, Davis called it “good news” that he avoided any serious injury, and won’t have to undergo surgery after finding out he had suffered an MCL sprain.
Davis will be reevaluated in four weeks, but considering what could have been on a play in which Jaden McDaniels fell backwards into Davis’ knee, that the Lakers should see him on the court again this season feels like a small win.
But nobody had that thought on Friday.
“Just throbbing pain,” Davis said about what he was feeling as he tried to walk down the tunnel after the injury, “and the pressure going from one end of the court to the other, it just reached the point where it was just tough to walk, so I had to take a break. Like I said, the first thing I did (was) hear something pop, and the first thing I thought of was, you know, that. Which, emotionally, I was just everywhere. But like I said, thank God it wasn’t that... But my leg was bothering me, so I just had to drop and just take that pressure off of it.”
The Lakers have been used to not having their Big Three of Davis, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James together this season. That trio has only played together 291 minutes this year in the team’s 31 games. For comparison, that amount of minutes ranks as only the fourth most-used three-man lineup for the Lakers this year, and less than half the minutes of the most-used three-man lineups in the league.
While Davis was sidelined for a large chunk of last season, this season he’s been one of the most available players on the team, ranking second to Westbrook in total minutes played. Now, with James healthy and back in the lineup, the Lakers will have to forge forward without Davis, another blow to a team that has been unable to get healthy all season.
“Mentally I’m fine. I’m in a good space,” Davis said. “Last year was more a ‘me’ thing and this year it was more a freakish play. So knowing that there is nothing I could have really done to avoid it keeps me in a good place. The guys in the locker room keep me in a good place, the people around me outside of basketball keep me in a good place.
“Had a great conversation with my wife about it. She’s going to keep me in a good place, for real. She’s with me every day,” Davis continued. “But I’m fine. I’m in a great place. I’m excited to attack the rehab and get back on the floor as soon as possible.”
Davis being out for a month is not good news for the Lakers, but given the context of how much worse this could have been, that he will return to the court this season feels like a small (good) positive during a host of (bad) positives the team has had to deal with lately.