Anthony Davis’ long-awaited return is in the offing for the Lakers following head coach Frank Vogel revealing that he has been cleared for on-court activity after Monday’s win over the Jazz. And while there is not an exact date set for his return yet, initial reports seem to indicate it could be in the coming days and games.
Per Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the LA Times, Davis’ return could come during the upcoming road trip for the Lakers, a six-game stint away from The Crypt that begins on Friday, Jan. 21 in Orlando and lasts until Sunday, Jan. 30 in Atlanta:
According to people with knowledge of the situation, there’s optimism Davis could return during the team’s upcoming six-game road trip.
This follows on the heels of Dave McMenamin of ESPN reporting similar optimism from the team last week, and there are a number of noteworthy dates on the road trip that could make for tantalizing returns for Davis.
The Lakers have back-to-back games on national television on Tuesday, Jan. 25 against Brooklyn and Thursday, Jan. 27 against Philadelphia. In theory, bringing Davis back to immediately battle with one of the most physical centers in the league in Embiid might be less than ideal, but the Lakers also aren’t in a position in the standings to pick and choose when he should return if he’s healthy.
However, that would be the only game Davis would come up against a physical center on the road trip. Neither Orlando nor Miami — who only recently welcomed back Bam Adebayo — have imposing centers that would make for tough returns. Similarly, after the game against the Sixers, the Lakers close with Charlotte and Atlanta, neither of which roster traditional big men.
With Davis being cleared on Monday, a week of ramping up seems like a minimum amount, particularly with how slowly the team tends to bring along players coming back from injury. In that sense, it’s unlikely he returns by Friday in Orlando or Sunday in Miami, which makes those two games against Brooklyn and Philadelphia even more likely again.
Regardless of when Davis returns, though, the fact he’s about to step back onto the court is exciting for Lakers fans, and for the team’s fortunes moving forward, the type of positive development the Lakers could certainly use in any form right now.