All throughout the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers dealt with injuries — it’s why they’re a play-in team as opposed to a guaranteed playoff team. But as frustrating as it may have been for them to lose games because of injuries during the regular season, their patience with their players’ various ailments paid off.
Ahead of their matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the Lakers released their injury report and there were only two names: LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both of whom are expected to be in uniform for the play-in game. Combined, James and Davis missed 63 games in the regular season, which limited them to just 27 games together. Last season, they played 59.
At the time, their absences hurt the Lakers more than any other injury on the team, but Anthony Davis believes there was a long-term benefit to him having a break in the middle of the season.
“I feel great,” Davis said. “The progression was something that I definitely wasn’t used to. I never took that many games off at one time — 30 games in one season — so it was different, but it was good, especially in a short offseason, to have that gap where I can get fully healthy and kind of have that offseason that we didn’t have.
“My wind feels good. I have my rhythm back,” Davis continued. “I’m ready to go, I’m locked in for this game tomorrow, and the future for our ball club in these playoffs.”
It’s one thing for Davis just to say that; it’s another for him to show it, and he did towards the season’s end. In his last five games, Davis averaged 28 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.4 steals per game while averaging 37.9 minutes per game. If he isn’t healthy, he’s doing a fantastic job of hiding it.
It’s reasonable to suspect that Davis and his teammates will pick up a few bumps and bruises in the postseason, but as long as no one gets seriously injured, they’ll be in as good of a position as anyone to be the last team standing. This is me knocking on symbolic wood.