The Los Angeles Lakers have cleared Anthony Davis for full on-court activity, Frank Vogel announced during his pregame media availability on Thursday. Davis has missed the last 27 games with a right calf strain he suffered against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 14.
“He was evaluated again upon the return from this trip, and he has been cleared for full, on-court activity,” Vogel said. “Full practice, anything we want to do with him to begin his full ramp-up and return to play. All the court work he’s been doing to this point has been to get him to be fully cleared to participate in full practice.”
There is no set return date for Davis’ return, but Vogel didn’t rule out the possibility of Davis playing a week from now, when the Lakers will fly to Dallas to play the Mavericks.
“Obviously he’s not playing tonight,” Vogel said. “It’s unlikely he plays in the two Utah games, but not out of the question and we’ll see over the next few days, hopefully he’s available after that.”
If Davis does return next week, his return will come just over nine weeks since the day he suffered his injury, which is more than double his initial four-week timeline. But Vogel reiterated that Davis’ lengthy rehabilitation wasn’t a result of any setbacks.
“Obviously it’s been quite some time since he initially got hurt, but there was a mindset to go through this type of process, to really strengthen the muscle and the area around it to this point,” Vogel said. “This isn’t the result of a setback or anything like that, it’s just part of a longer-term plan to make sure the muscle is fully recovered and strong.”
Whenever Davis returns, whether it’s next week or shortly thereafter, Vogel plans on limiting the amount of minutes he plays initially.
“It’s not going to be a full return to playing 30-some minutes a night, especially with the nature of (the lack of) practice and how shorthanded we are,” Vogel said. “He’s going to have to use some games to get back in shape, so the first few games he’s back will likely be short-minute performances, with probably like a 15-minute minutes restriction and build up from there.”
The Lakers have managed to stay in the playoff picture without Davis, going 13-14 in his absence, but Vogel made it clear that everyone is ready for him to get back out onto the floor, including Davis himself.
“He’s tired of being a patient and ready to be a player again, so he’s eager to get to work in real practice the next few days in live work, and more eager to get back on the floor,” Vogel said. “And obviously that’s going to give our whole group a big lift.”