The news we were all sort of expecting — but dreading all the same — has dropped, as Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Anthony Davis is unlikely to be able to suit up for the Lakers when they face the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Charania broke the news on Twitter on Monday morning, before the Lakers’ Memorial Day practice:
Lakers star Anthony Davis is unlikely to play in Game 5 vs. Suns on Tuesday due to strained groin, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. There’s optimism about Davis‘ status as series continues and as he is evaluated day-to-day.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 31, 2021
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN followed up with a few more details:
Noon @SportsCenter with @Sagesteele on pessimism surrounding Anthony Davis’ availability for Game 5 of Lakers-Suns series pic.twitter.com/MMnVIRikRn— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 31, 2021
All this follows multiple reports over the course of Sunday night that Davis has a Grade 1 groin strain, and will be considered day-to-day moving forward. Our own Dr. Rajpal Brar already broke down what this diagnosis could mean for Davis and the team moving forward earlier this morning.
Davis finished out the final minute or so of the first half of Game 4 with the injury, but did not return after halftime. In his absence, Kyle Kuzma started the second half, while Markieff Morris also got some playing time. For any time Davis misses, expect those two to see a minutes bump, as well as the possibility of Montrezl Harrell making his way back into the rotation as the Lakers look for scoring out of the frontcourt. It might make sense to play Harrell for any minutes Deandre Ayton isn’t on the court, and Marc Gasol for the majority of the rest of the time at that position for his spacing and passing.
In the aftermath of Davis’ injury, the Lakers were defiant. LeBron James and Frank Vogel insisted that James could still carry the team if necessary, while Marc Gasol said that he and his teammates had zero doubt that they had enough to win, even without Davis.
Will such bravado prove right, or be revealed as the mere bluster of true competitors who don’t lose faith in themselves? If Davis really can’t go, we’ll find out when the Lakers tip off Game 5 at 7:00 p.m. in Phoenix on Tuesday. That game can be viewed nationally on TNT, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet.
This story will be updated with more information as it develops.
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