The Lakers gathered on Saturday morning for a walkthrough-style practice ahead of Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, and after that session, head coach Frank Vogel offered the latest injury updates on starters Anthony Davis (knee sprain) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (knee contusion), both of whom sustained their injuries in Game 3.
“(KCP) and Anthony are going to be listed as questionable with their knee issues,” Vogel said, adding that both players are “dealing with some soreness” but that the Lakers are “hopeful that they both play.”
Caldwell-Pope underwent an MRI on Friday that revealed no structural damage to his leg after he left Thursday’s Game 3 with what the Lakers originally were calling a “quad contusion” prior to this latest update from Vogel. Davis described his knee issue as a hyperextension after Game 3, and despite him laboring on it at times, Vogel repeated said during his postgame interview on Thursday that while he had wanted to take Davis out at multiple points, the training staff repeatedly told him that the star wasn’t at injury risk, and that the issue was just a matter of playing through the pain.
Davis reiterated that description of his status after practice on Saturday, and said that while there was swelling in his knee that the Lakers were trying to bring down, he doesn’t want to miss a playoff game with this injury.
“There is no chance that I don’t play tomorrow,” Davis said. “I’ll get examined tomorrow before the game and even later on tonight, but as a player, wanting to be in this moment, wanting to be in the playoffs and help contribute to my team’s success, I want to be out there. So in my eyes, for me as a competitor, I think I’ll be out there tomorrow.”
To make that happen, the medical staff has been giving Davis treatment since Game 3 ended, and trying to reduce the swelling in his leg with a compression sleeve for him to walk around in. He even joked that he’d be willing to go “back to the 1970s knee brace to compete,” although he clarified that the medical staff had not discussed a brace with him to this point.
“Just doing everything I can to be on the floor tomorrow,” Davis said.
Swelling (fluid) expected after a sprain. Sounds low grade injury based on the injury status & AD being able to play through it effectively during game 3. Get treatment, get ready for game 4. https://t.co/CySMd9E0zF— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) May 29, 2021
In short, it sounds like there is little chance that Davis doesn’t at least give it a go for Game 4, which he called “probably the biggest game of the series.” Caldwell-Pope’s status sounds a bit more nebulous based on the fact that he couldn’t return to finish Game 3, but Vogel sounds confident that the Lakers have options if he has to miss a game.
“Hopefully KCP is a go and we keep guys in their normal roles, but Wes (Matthews) has played really well. Really provides that toughness, edginess and chippiness on the defensive end,” Vogel said. “You need that when you have elite playmakers like we’re going against in Chris Paul and (Devin) Booker, even the way Cam Payne is playing, you definitely need that.
“He’s just another weapon for us to throw out there and help solidify us on the defensive end, and as you saw the other night, offensively, knocking down a couple threes always helps. Wes is a great two-way player, and whether KCP is in or not, we expect him to contribute in this series.”
The Lakers and Suns will tip off Game 4 on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PT, and the matchup will be televised exclusively on ABC.