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Anthony Davis’ knee is doing better, but groin strain will keep him out of Game 5 vs. Suns

The Lakers opted to keep Anthony Davis out to get more treatment on his groin strain rather than have him suit up for Game 5 against the Suns, but Frank Vogel did have some good news on his knee.

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NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis will miss Game 5 of the Lakers’ first-round series against the Phoenix Suns. This move is unsurprising after all the reports over the last day that it was “unlikely” Davis would be able to suit up after suffering a Grade 1 groin strain in Game 4, and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports first reported that Davis will sit out.

The Lakers later confirmed that report when announcing their starting lineup, with Markieff Morris taking Davis’ spot:

The decision to sit Davis came after he did attempt to warm up for the game with some light shooting:

And even came back out for a second warmup session to test himself further:

At his pre-game media availability, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that whether Davis would sit or not would ultimately come down to the training staff.

“If they feel he’s at risk for injuring it further, then obviously they won’t clear him to be out there. But if they feel like he’s just playing through some pain, and he’s not at any further risk than any other player, then he’ll be cleared,” Vogel said. “It’s going to be a medical decision.”

The medical staff evidently decided that Davis was at some level of risk for this game, but Vogel did have at least some good news on his star: The knee sprain that limited him in Game 4 has gotten better.

“The groin is the bigger priority,” Vogel said. “I don’t believe that the knee is an issue. He was playing with a bit of soreness in the knee the other night, so it’s really about the groin right now.”

But sitting Davis anyway makes sense, especially if taking into account an ESPN report on Monday that quoted a Lakers source who said that the team’s mindset internally is that “any AD is better than no AD” as this series moves forward. If that’s the case, then they might as well try to catch the Suns off guard, win one game without him, and then head home with a chance to close out the series, with or without Davis in uniform.

In happier news for the Lakers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will make his return to the lineup after missing the better part of the last two games with a knee contusion. This was also somewhat expected after Caldwell-Pope said he felt better after practice on Monday, but his return will provide the Lakers with at least one more player who can — at least theoretically — space the floor around LeBron James.

Caldwell-Pope has been in the midst of a brutal, 1-13 shooting slump to start this series, but James has been telling him to keep shooting, and he’s trying to stay confident. But even if his shots aren’t falling, Caldwell-Pope has been huge defensively on Devin Booker, and should at least be able to make an impact there, if he’s healthy.

Davis still not playing obviously makes this game much tougher sledding for the Lakers, but with a full day-plus to prepare for him to be out instead of having to adjust mid-game like last time, they should at least be in a better position to survive his absence. If they can grab a win here, it would not only put them on the precipice of a series victory, but also buy Davis more crucial time to recover. We’ll see if they can get it done when they tip off against the Suns at 7 p.m. PT tonight.

This developing story will be updated with more information.

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